Health and safety in a small business

How to implement Health and Safety in a small business

Summary: Don’t be ill-prepared. If someone is injured in your small business this will be detrimental to both the injured party and your small business.

Yet small businesses are often not prepared to deal with workplace injuries, because occupational health and safety is seen as a big, formal exercise to rather be avoided.

Making sure that no one gets hurt in your business need not be a time consuming, formal process.

Here are some ways to protect yourself and your employees if you are a small business:

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Step 1: Appoint a competent person to handle health and safety inhouse

If you have the budget, enlist the services of a health and safety consultant.

If you do not have the budget, you can appoint yourself or an employee you trust to oversee health and safety issues, to make sure health and safety practices are implemented and managed.

Step 2: Write a health and safety policy

You can create a simple document that describes how you will manage health and safety issues.

This way you and your staff know who does what, when things will be done and how things will work for health and safety in your organisation.

Step 3: Control the risks in your business

Proactively determine what things in your business might cause harm to people and decide if you are taking reasonable steps to prevent that harm.

While you cannot prevent unforeseeable risks, you can certainly prevent foreseeable ones and save yourself, your business and any potential injured parties a lot of damage.

Step 4: Talk to your staff about health and safety

Consult your employees on health and safety.

Listen and talk to them about the work that they do and any health and safety concerns, as well as how to best control the risks.

Provide any training on hazards and risks and make sure everyone knows about any emergency procedures.

Step 5: Provide the right workplace facilities

Providing the right workplace facilities to ensure health and safety need not be expensive and time consuming.

Make sure you have provided:

  • Toilets, hand basins, soap and drying facilities.
  • Drinking water
  • A place to rest
  • A place to eat meals
  • Good ventilation
  • A reasonable working temperature
  • The right lighting for the work being carried out
  • Enough space, seating and work areas
  • Waste containers
  • A clean work space

Make sure that you:

  • Properly maintain any work equipment
  • Keep floors where people walk free from obstruction
  • Have windows that can be opened and cleaned safely

Step 6: Ensure you have First Aid

You are responsible for making sure that you and your employees have First Aid if anyone takes ill or is injured at work.

It is essential to have First Aid arrangements at your workplace including:-

  • A properly stocked First Aid box or kit
  • Someone who is appointed to take care of any First Aid
  • Information for employees on First Aid

Depending on the nature of your business, you may require a properly trained First Aider on site.

Step 7: Get insurance for your business

If an employees gets injured or falls ill as a result of the work they do for you, they can claim compensation from you.

Make sure you have employee’s liability insurance or workplace compensation in place.

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