Though your business is not expected (nor legally required) to remove ‘all safety risks,’ it is inherent upon your organisation to maintain adequate health and safety measures for your staff. It may seem at times a bit of a burden – perhaps financially as well as administratively – however, statistics demonstrate that real savings can be realised with a little more attention to detail.
Let’s take a look at what’s required, why taking these measures is more than just a legal imposition, and further steps you can take to ensure your company is safe for all.
Are You Ticking the Boxes?
As an employer, staying in compliance with all current health and safety rules and regulations is your responsibility. The following checklist for employers will help you stay on point:
☐ Posting the Rules: You can download the health and safety laws, and acquire leaflets and posters at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
☐ Plan of Action: Institute policies to ensure that all workers know how to report accidents, and to whom. Create a checklist of actions to take in an emergency – when steps might easily be forgotten – and post it alongside other required posters.
☐ Disability Laws: Familiarize yourself with the laws governing disabled applicants and employees, and make sure they are accounted for in safety plans.
☐ Stay Up-to-Date: Ignorance is not a defence when it comes to breaking the law. As an owner, it is your responsibility to comply with all government regulations.
☐ Documentation: Your policies should dictate that company management be notified of any accident or injury, no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time. Some injuries (such as those sustained by a fall) may not be evident until a day or two goes by.
☐ Riddor Reports: The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) requires that certain reportable injuries, and any work-related death, are reported online at the HSE.
☐ HSE Guidance: Their Health & Safety Toolbox is full of tips about every aspect of occupational safety management for your business.
☐ Risk Assessments: Examples are provided by HSE. However – as they caution you – be sure to adapt the assessment to your own industry, your company and any specific requirements involved. You’ll want to have a business attorney review any legal document before putting it into use.
☐ Safety Training: Certain industries will have specific certifications to be met. However, the average company office should still incorporate regular safety training; set aside a few minutes in your staff meetings, or invite a speaker to address the company every so often. Have your workers sign an attendance sheet. For extra motivation, you might make them certificates to be posted in their cubicles as well.
☐ First Aid: Keep an emergency supplies box in a visible spot, with easy access. Assign a manager to check and refill the contents regularly. Here’s a fast and fun CPR video TV advertisement, by the British Heart Foundation, that you may want to share with your staff.
☐ Legal Advisor: Stay in touch with your solicitor. Legal advice for business decisions is paramount when it comes to injury or accident liabilities.
Why Prevention Makes Sense
According to the annual 2014 report from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) represent 67% of Europe’s economy. Yet their workers are more likely to be impacted by poor occupational health and safety; coming in at 82% of EU work injuries and 90% of EU workplace fatalities.
The report additionally presents thirteen case studies of business interventions. Financial assessments examined the costs and benefits of changes made during the interventions. Final conclusions over a 5-year period showed that 11 of the 13 businesses reflected major financial benefits.
Basically, good practices in occupational safety and health equal more stability and happiness amongst employees, and fewer accidents and injuries.
Going Above and Beyond
If you work to create a healthier and more motivated workforce, the advantages will come back to you tenfold. Showing your workers a high level of interest in their health and safety not only provides better protection for your employees, but also affords these benefits:
- Retains staff
- Boosts worker productivity
- Reduces absences
- Increases company profits
- Builds a positive company reputation
- Lowers insurance rates
- Reduces legal costs
Give some thought to other ways you can heighten interest in cooperative measures between employees and management. Here are a few ideas you can start with:
- Every October, the European Week For Health And Safety At Work takes place, with a variety of activities in which your organisation and employees can participate.
- Create a google alert for a few safety topics, to receive interesting news or updates in your email box. Share those which are relevant with your staff and invite their feedback.
- Provide a suggestion box, and encourage workers to express their non-emergency safety concerns or ideas for improvements. They can opt to be anonymous if they prefer not to add their names. Keep in mind that it is crucial you stay involved. Handing off entire projects to the staff will give them the impression you are detached.
When it comes to workplace accident prevention, getting ahead of your employees’ health and safety is the ticket. To connect with a trustworthy and experienced solicitor, just state your case and receive multiple fixed-rate proposals, hand-selected by Linkilaw.