No matter how big or small a business is, certain considerations will need to be paid to health and safety. For smaller businesses, this can take up precious time and cost a significant amount of money to initiate, and in turn it is important that businesses understand their needs and legal requirements right from the start to simplify the procedure, whilst saving time and money in the process.
Businesses With Under 5 Employees
Things can get confusing for very small businesses when it comes to generating health and safety policies. Those companies with less than 5 employees do not legally need to display a health and safety policy. However, not having your own policy can come at its own price.
Just because a business does not legally need to have a specific health and safety policy in place does not mean that they can pay less attention to health and safety procedures in the workplace. Furthermore, without such a policy, there may be a great many forms to fill in and hoops to jump through should contractors need to come on site at a later date for any reason.
Not only will having a policy in place make sure that all employees know exactly what their responsibilities are, but it will also cover an employer’s back should an accident occur or help employees more easily avoid accidents in the first place. For small businesses, the financial and reputational cost of an accident can be severe and so the right approach to health and safety may be even more important for the smallest companies than the largest.
There is also a big difference between health and safety policies and risk assessments. Even those who choose not to produce a health and safety policy will need to assess all risks in the workplace. The law simply states that those with fewer than 5 employees will not need a written statement of these risks and how to deal with them.
Other Small Businesses
Ultimately, the main thrust of health and safety law revolves around identifying risks and then eliminating – or at the very least reducing – these potential safety hazards. This involves taking sensible steps, and for those uninitiated in the world of health and safety, bringing in a consultant may be the quickest, easiest, and potentially the most cost-effective way of putting the right processes in place from the very start.
There will of course be plenty of information to be found online too, and such help sites may be very useful as business processes change further down the line to ensure you do not have to consult experts every time you reposition a desk or change a light bulb.
Once risk assessments have been carried out and policies drawn up, a large part of complying with health and safety laws will involve ensuring that any relevant training is undertaken. Each business will have very different safety training needs, and very different needs when it comes to first aid. Again, consulting the experts will help you see exactly what you need.
What will remain a constant is the importance of health and safety awareness in the workplace. Not only will avoiding accidents help businesses to be as efficient and productive as possible, but the cost of accidents will be felt not only in possible compensation but also in reduced morale, wasted time training replacement staff members and impaired public perception. And for smaller businesses all of these can quickly become crippling.
Content contributed by Megri.com