By Amanda at Sage HR Advice
Let’s face it: dealing with health and safety isn’t the most interesting use of your time.
You could argue that putting all of your effort into growing your profits is the best way to spend your day.
However, the reality is that there are four extremely important reasons why health and safety should be one of your top business priorities:
- Legal – prosecutions for non-compliance can cause major headaches and ruin a business’ reputation
- Moral – you have a duty of care to keep your workers and customers safe from harm
- Economic – hefty fines and other costs associated with accidents can and do sink businesses for good
- Emotional – Looking after your employee’s safety and welfare can help improve morale
By now, you should have introduced a safety management system into your organisation, allocated responsibilities to your employees and set safety objectives.
But health and safety is a huge and varied beast, and keeping it relevant and effective is a continual process. How do you go about maintaining the health and safety system that you’ve put in place?
The answer is to spread the different disciplines over a year, into smaller, bite-sized chunks.
Exactly what you should review will depend on the exact requirements of your business, but this guide should give you a template to tailor to your needs:
January - Annual Audit Of Risk Assessments
- They have been carried out in each area of your business
- They are recorded and readily available
- They are communicated to new starters
- They are updated whenever the work you do changes
February – Fire Protection
Check that fire arrangements are in place and satisfactory for:
- Prevention e.g. no smoking
- Detection e.g. smoke alarms
- Response e.g. emergency evacuation
March – Display Screens
- Every display screen workstation has been subject to an assessment
- That your employees have been trained to work safely and comfortably
April – Work Equipment
- New equipment is only purchased if it is suitable and meets the legal requirements
- Workers are trained in the use of new equipment
- Employees using existing equipment are trained, and where necessary formally authorised
- Equipment is subject to routine maintenance
May – Water Systems
Check that systems are subject to appropriate maintenance and control for drinking water.
June – People
Check the categories of workers and others, ensuring that they are adequately addressed by the safety arrangements, for instance:
- Pregnant workers
- Disabled staff
- New recruits
Complete assessments on stress.
July - Cleaning
Arrange for cleaning the building inside and out (window cleaners, for instance).
August – No Audit, Holiday period
September – Heating And Ventilation Systems
Annual check that maintenance and other arrangements are satisfactory.
October – General Building Maintenance
Look at the issues of premises management, record keeping and similar matters.
November - Electricity
Check that the policy on the electrical system and electrical equipment inspection/testing is implemented.
December - No Audit, Holiday Period
Remember: as an employer, it is your legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of employees and other people, such as members of the public and visitors, who might be affected by your organisation’s work activities.
It doesn’t have to be a laborious set of tasks: the law does not demand that you spend vast resources in terms of finance, time and effort to eliminate all risks. You just need to take a measured, proactive and reasoned approach to safety management.
Did you know that Sage provide all kinds of Health & Safety and Human Resource Advice? As well as translating the law into plain English, we will notify you of forthcoming legislative changes and give you all the tools you need to remain compliant.
For more information or to take a product tour visit the Sage HR Advice page.