With so much growth being seen in the development industry, many of us are opting to take the plunge and start our own businesses. While many professionals know how to make the contacts and grow their new enterprise in an organic way, a lot of them don’t have prior experience in the legal requirements of running an office space.
When running your own business whether it's big or small, there are a lot of areas that you need to consider to keep your business running and to make sure all its policies are compliant with legislation. One area of these areas is health and safety and if you employ staff or deal with the public then you, as the business owner, are responsible for the health and safety of your team.
Creating health and safety procedures isn't as long drawn out or as complicated as you may think. For many small companies, all that is required is to run some basic checks and tasks to ensure compliance with the health and safety law.
Here’s what you need to know.
First, run a risk assessment to assess the level of risk you must observe and manage in your workplace. In short, a risk assessment records all potential areas that could be considered dangerous and what the appropriate steps and precautions are for each recorded instance. While the law doesn't demand that you remove these risks, having a check in place to help control these risks. It just needs to be a logbook of what may happen and how you will go about preventing it.
Best practise is to do a walk around your office and look for any risks and record them as high, medium and low. If you have more than five employees, then you will need to write your findings and precautions down. Keep this to hand in a file that can be easily accessed by your staff and communicate this to them on a semi-regular basis. Even in an office environment that is used for development work, this is still vitally important.
So what counts as a risk? Typically, you’ll need health and safety measures for electrical safety, fire safety, manual handling, slips and trips and working from heights. Everyday risks are assumed, and you won’t need to record these as you despite all the luck in the world you will never be able to predict or control random accidents. This is especially important if your place of business is visited by non-employees like clients, etc.
You’ll also need to consider your employee’s needs and requirements. Your health and safety policy will need to factor in people with disabilities. You'll need to ensure that your fire safety controls factor in wheelchair users and that you have step-free access to and from your workplace. Additionally, you also need to factor employees under 18 years of age and an additional risk assessment for pregnant women.
To help you implement the necessary health and safety procedures, have a look at some of the useful online guides to help get your business compliant with the law. They suggest things like; staff training and communication of risks and their role in their safety and that of visitors. You should keep a record of this training to make sure that new and existing staff are aware of all safety measures. It is also recommended that you display these precautions where relevant to further raise health and safety awareness. Even working at a desk requires health and safety measures.
By implementing these procedures, you can ensure that your business is protected and you can continue to grow.