Health and Safety in Big Business: How To Ensure Your Equipment Is Up To Standard
Businesses must protect their employees as much as possible. In the UK there are more than 620,000 workers a year who suffer injuries in workplace accidents and more than 520,000 who experience ill health that is caused or made worse by their work.
According to the Health and Safety Executive, these figures add up to a total cost of more than £14 billion. While we clearly shouldn’t see injury and illness in purely economic terms, that alone should show the seriousness of this issue.
For a big business, this can be a particular issue. The size and scale of a large organisation often means that some part of your operation is engaged in work that could be dangerous – whether that’s because of working at height or extreme temperatures or through something you lift or a chemical you handle.
You need to give your staff every chance to be safe and avoid adding to the statistics above. One key part of that is to ensure the equipment you use is up to standard. Without this, you’re bound to struggle with health and safety.
If you don’t know what equipment you have then it’s impossible to know whether or not it is up to standard. If you don’t have a full record then it’s time to conduct an audit. Make sure you find out what you use, how long you’ve had it and what condition it is in. This is something you may wish to re-visit on a regular basis, testing equipment to ensure it’s still in working order.
Alongside this process, you should ensure you have carried out risk assessments. These will allow you to see what the dangers are – and what equipment is needed to reduce the risk. See this article for tips on what to look for.
This process might well highlight a number of pieces of equipment that aren’t fit for purpose. By keeping a full record, you’ll know where and when you need to invest. Over and above that, it’s important to keep an eye out for investment opportunities. New equipment is coming on the market all the time that is safer and more efficient and could improve the products and services you are delivering.
This is also important when you are expanding or in need of one-off specialist equipment. You need to do your research and be specific. Don’t just think about needing paint spray booths, read up and search our Airblast spray booths, for example.
Investment isn’t just about the equipment either. Across a big business, you need to have the right people within your management structure who can take charge of safety.
The ‘people point’ is important. Your equipment is only as good as the people using it. You have to take time to ensure your employees know exactly how to operate any equipment they use safely, sending them on any training courses they might need. It’s particularly important with new employees too – don’t throw them in at the deep end and expect them to be able to stay safe.
We’ve dealt with the equipment and the people, but there’s one other factor: how do you consider what’s up to standard? While you might have your own figures for performance, you also need to be aware of the law. Whether it’s regulations covering the safe handling of chemicals or tests for electrical equipment, you need to know the law and apply it.