Although large in importance, the task of managing health and safety in the workplace doesn’t have to be complicated, that is, if you are involved in low-risk businesses. The crucial element is prevention so a set of concise and practical rules are in most cases enough to keep the employees safe in the workplace. If you are uncertain on how to go about the health and safety, here is a short overview of steps you should consider.
Conduct risk assessments
During working hours, the safety of your employees is in your hands. While certain situations and elements can be indeed harmful, others are just inconvenient and have a negative effect on their work performance. This is why you need to make sure that your employees are not put under unnecessary risk and if the risk is a part of their job, that they are protected as much as possible.
Risk assessment covers different hazards and the most common are mental which include working with demanding clients, long hours or having an excessive workload, and physical that incorporate noise, lifting heavy items, uncomfortable postures, slips, etc. Among the less common are chemical and biological that encompass the risk of asbestos exposure, coming into contact with cleaning fluids, tuberculosis, hepatitis and other infectious diseases faced by healthcare professionals. What’s important is that you assess the dangers that your entire staff might be facing – your full-time, part-time workers, disabled employees, pregnant women, etc.
Acquire liability insurance
No matter how much money and effort you invest in keeping your employees safe, accidents are rarely 100% avoidable. Sometimes it’s due to a human error, while at other times it could simply be a combination of circumstances gone awry. People slip, don’t wait to handle equipment until they are fully awake or it could be a case of equipment malfunction – it amounts to the same because injuries often come as a result.
However, if you failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent accidents or harm and an injury or illness of an employee that happened due to this omission, you will need to take responsibility. If you are liable, you will have to pay compensation so getting an insurance quote in the early beginnings of your company is the best way to ensure you will have the funds to help your employees and for your business finances not to suffer due to a sudden expense.
Compose a health and safety policy
To avoid misunderstanding, double-interpretations, and to make everything crystal clear to everyone, it is always best to put it in writing officially. Ambiguous policies can first and foremost be the cause of the harm that happened to your employees and can also end up being a large strain on your budget. For that reason, writing one is possible only after assessing all the potential risks to make sure you have every angle covered.
What’s most important is for the policy to be practical and written in a realistic manner so, for instance, if you perform checkups every three months, don’t write that you do them monthly because that can be misleading in case some accident happens. Also, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be complicated and long but instead it needs to contain the potential risks and guidelines on how to go about them. There is no purpose of composing a policy full of legalese that your staff for whom it is written for will not understand.
Train and inform your employees
And now those who are most important in this case – your employees. To have a realistic image of the situation and how it evolves, you need to remain in constant contact with your staff. They might show you a risk that you haven’t considered or a practical solution that escaped you because they are the ones performing those tasks and therefore the ones who know best about the risks they can encounter.
Another thing you need to constantly need to work on is to educate and train your employees so that they know exactly how to handle certain situations and to remain calm and rational when something unexpected happens. Make sure they are open to giving suggestions and participating actively because their feedback is immensely important. Also, don’t forget to keep a record of the time the training sessions took place and what was covered during them to be able to assess when a new session needs to be organized and what needs to be worked on.
Knowing where potential risks lie and communicating with your employees about them is half of the work. You need to check whether your staff has additional things to report and for them to have a clear idea of the do’s and don’ts, it is essential to have it all in writing. Last but not least, since mistakes can happen even in the most comprehensive of systems, it is best to obtain liability insurance to make sure you can aid your employees by way of compensation.