You may be feeling pretty good about things in the business right now. You’ve survived the recession with minimum casualties, and the business may even be starting to grow. You’ve got a good team of people on staff who are great fun, and may even socialise with each other. Of course, there are the odd pranks and silliness, but it’s all good for morale, right? Being best buddies with your colleagues keeps things ticking along nicely. Everyone is relaxed and easy-going. Are you headed for a fall? Don’t get complacent, get compliant!
While mucking about and having a laugh keeps everyone in good spirits, all too often someone takes it too far and an accident occurs. No matter how small or minor the repercussions of the incident, it is imperative it is reported correctly and acted upon. In workplaces like factories, warehouses and building sites, colleagues work hard in difficult conditions for long hours. Camaraderie is essential to keep things ticking along and build team spirit, but usually, the workplace is too hazardous for jovial jokes and silliness. Someone has to be a killjoy, and that may have to be you.
Safety wear is essential in any hazardous environment. This could include high-vis jackets, ear defenders and steel toe boots. It is unacceptable ever to be without these items, but who is policing the employees? All hazardous workplaces should have a health and safety officer. Their full-time job is to continually risk-assess, and ensure the safety of all employees in the workplace. If at any time anything is falling short of the strict government regulations in place, it is on their head.
Most companies can’t afford to keep someone on staff all year round to maintain the high standards of safety and compliance expected in the workplace. Instead, businesses can outsource this essential role to companies like praxis42.com. These compliance experts are health and safety specialists. They can audit the entire business across multiple sites, and provide risk assessment reviews, training and fire risk management. Usually, outsourcing provides your business with an agent who is experienced and qualified to strategically review your risks and needs. It saves you time and money trying to recruit an equivalent officer, which can be very difficult for small town companies.
Once you have had a thorough audit of your needs, it may be necessary to implement some changes, and update your regulatory paperwork. Again, this can be outsourced, saving you valuable man hours and ensuring it is done right first time. Health and safety companies can also investigate any accidents that occur in your workplace, and will work with you to ensure things are put right.
As a manager, it is incredibly difficult to keep up with all the changes to regulation and keep an eye on all your employees antics. If you feel that, despite your best efforts, things may be difficult to keep on top of, it is essential you find someone to take that role on. The welfare of your employees must be a priority at all times. It is not just a moral obligation. The law stipulates no employees should ever be in danger in the workplace. Their long term health must be protected and monitored too.
If your business is growing, it can be very easy to lose sight of changes down on the shop floor. Staff morale may be higher now than it has been for a while, but happiness amongst your employees is not a sure sign their workplace is a healthy one. A health and safety officer should regularly be surveying the staff to ensure their training is up to date and that they understand the current regulations fully. If the staff is negligent in terms of their behaviour or willingness to wear protective gear, it is still your responsibility to ensure they are safe. This may involve removing them from the work area, or retraining as a priority. You cannot miss a beat.
If something does go wrong, you cannot be held liable if you implemented everything you were legally required to. Accidents do happen. Having a fully qualified and experienced compliance officer working for the company will limit their occurrence and impact. Outsourcing is a sure way to be certain you are covered in such circumstances if your business is not in a position to hire someone.
If you are unsure where to turn to for help with compliance, start by browsing online for companies that specialise in this area. It is essential you keep up with the latest government regulations regarding health and safety in the workplace, and these too can be checked online. All businesses require fire safety compliance to regulations. Even if you don’t operate a warehouse, you will be required to ensure your employees’ safety. Illness or accident can cost hundreds of work hours in time off. Taking extra care of your employees can save your business a fortune.
In the office, fire regulations apply. Additionally, working with computers can be damaging to your staff’s health. Posture and eye health should regularly be checked, as sitting for eight hours a day staring at a computer screen can be harmful. Risk assess for trip hazards and food hygiene in the kitchenette too. If the staff receive stationery orders, train them in how to lift heavier boxes safely. Repetitive strain can occur for typists, but simple wrist supports for the keyboard can help prevent this.
In the warehouse, high visibility vests are essential, as lighting can be poor when surrounded by stock. Ensure painted color lines are visible on the floor. These allocate walkways, stock areas, and paths for rolling machinery like forklifts. Hard hats are likely to be needed as well as steel toe boots. In colder climates, you may need to provide work jackets and gloves.
In the factory, all machines must be regularly maintained and be fitted with emergency shutdown buttons. All operating staff must be fully trained to use the machines. Provide regular breaks away from the environment.