Improving Your Business’s Health and Safety in 5 Simple Steps

Posted: 22nd July 2016 11:14

Whatever industry you work in, there are a multitude of workplace hazards you and your colleagues need to avoid. Health and safety plans are a legal requirement of every business, so it’s essential that you’re able to demonstrate that your business complies with the rules and regulations to manage risks and incidents. Here are five simple steps towards improving your business’s health and safety culture…
First, conduct a risk assessment
A risk assessment is the first step towards improving your business’s health and safety compliance, as performing one will ensure that you’ve identified all the risks and hazards in your workplace, leading to a plan designed to manage them. Then, put a plan in place, detailing what you’re going to do to eliminate or minimise the risks to your employees.
If your business is small, communicate the details of this plan by word of mouth, run through it in a team meeting and make sure everyone has a copy of it - include it as part of their induction and employee contract. In larger businesses, the challenge becomes bigger but not insurmountable: ensure managers review the plan with their departments and consider using emails and e-learning to disseminate the details of it.
Second, routinely inspect your workplace
You will have performed some level of inspection in order to create your assessment and come up with a risk and incident management plan, but it’s important to continue inspecting your business premises regularly to check that your health and safety procedures are fit for purpose.
If, for instance, new vehicles, machines or surfaces are likely to pose a hazard to your workforce, update the health and safety policy accordingly. Regularly check for wear and tear and deterioration on all tools and equipment, ensuring they’re well maintained and safe to use too. You could appoint individuals within the business for these tasks, affording them responsibility for inspections and making the necessary changes to reduce risks.
Third, ensure you’re offering effective training.
A robust health and safety policy is no good if your employees aren’t capable of implementing it. So, make sure all your employees know how to do things safely (be it lifting packages, operating machinery or handling hazardous substances).
You can deliver this via a combination of on the job training, face to face workshops, e-learning and classroom sessions. Just don’t forget about contracted workers as well as those on your regular team… their health and safety is just as important as anyone else’s.
Fourth, investigate incidents and maintain records
Exploring and reporting on health and safety incidents and near misses will help to determine why incidents are occurring, helping you take action towards ensuring problems don’t arise in the future. So, keep to record of the incident, detail any first aid treatment that’s been performed, note inspections that have highlighted risks, and summarise the findings of incident investigations too.
If you’re struggling to do this, consider using the kind of incident management and reporting software available from it will help you get to the root of the problem so that you can implement preventative measures as well as showing you where further training is needed.
Fifth, foster the right culture and get employees talking about health and safety
It's critical that you make health and safety culture an integral part of your business; encourage everyone to take personal and shared responsibility for their wellbeing and that of their colleagues.
A commitment to health and safety will serve you all by reducing the human and business costs of breaches. More importantly however, it will ensure that you’re not in danger of receiving heavy fines or even jail sentences for negligence. Proper consideration for your employee’s health and safety is essential: be sure to implement out these five tips!