Everybody has the right to be safe within their working environment, and with employees being the most important asset to any organisation, it is surprising that Health and Safety is still considered something that companies have to do, rather than want to do and therefore not always considered a priority.
Despite the Health and Safety at Work Act being around since 1974, there are still wide spread misconceptions and myths about what good Health and Safety practices include. By following the below 10 top tips you can ensure that Health and Safety becomes a priority in your business.
Be aware of your legal obligations
Since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act, employers have a legal obligation to take reasonable actions to minimise risks in the workplace and provide safe working conditions. Businesses with 5 or more employees are required by law to have a written Health & Safety Policy. In most cases, you will also need to purchase employers’ liability insurance for your business.
Speak to staff
Speaking to your staff is the best and easiest way to identify unsafe working practices or hazards on the premises. Use team meetings or your intranet to ask questions and provide a platform for staff to share any concerns they may have.
Write a Health and Safety policy
This may sound more daunting than it actually is. There are a range of templates available, such as this one from the Health and Safety Executive. Your Health and Safety Policy should also include a risk assessment and will detail who does what, when and how – not just for your staff, but also for external stakeholders and business partners.
Put in place processes
Once a risk assessment has been completed to identify hazards in the workplace, you will need to ensure that processes are implemented and followed to minimise those risks. Ensure these processes are communicated to all staff and regularly followed up on.
Ensure staff are trained
Make sure your staff are properly trained to deal with any Health and Safety issues and maintain a regular training schedule. It is worth remembering that some staff members such as new starters, young employees or those who have recently changed roles, might need more in-depth training.
By keeping a log of incidents or near misses and monitoring results you can establish whether current measures are working and adjust accordingly.
Strive for a safety culture
Making Health and Safety a part of everyday working lives and meeting agendas ensures there are constant reminders in place, such as signs, memos, notice boards etc.
Keep up to date
Stay up to date with any changes in legislation or new initiatives that can support and highlight your safe working practices.
Leaders who understand and live by the values of good Health and Safety practices will ensure that the workforce adopts those values, too. A strong safety culture has a positive impact on the whole business through lower absenteeism and higher staff retention.
Designate Health & Safety Champions
Health and Safety Champions are members of staff who act as role models for other team members and help their colleagues improve Health and Safety in general. This might involve keeping a general eye out on hazards and unsafe working practices, or could go as far as organising fun activities for the team, such as getting involved in initiatives such as Mental Health Awareness Week, Cycle to Work Day etc.
If you’d like a chat about your company’s Health and Safety training, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01903 871381.