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5 health and safety tips to keep in mind when setting up your own business

23-07-2012

Being your own boss is exciting; it opens you up to the world and various opportunities. But, amidst the excitement, be sure that you have all your legalities in check too. While having entrepreneurial spirit can be exhilarating, it comes with risks – especially if you are going to need employees.

You don’t want to be going full steam ahead before inadequate health and safety knowledge sees you facing work accident claims. Whether you will have a shop floor or just an office space, be sure to research exactly what you need. Take a look at this top tips so that your dream doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

Have a policy

When most businesses start, there are many ideas flying around. You may think that you have all the answers to things in your head but try to articulate a health and safety policy. This will mean that you, your staff and anyone else know about your commitment. What this should be is a document about how it will be managed, who does what, when this happens and how. Keep it fairly general but comprehensive.

Have a manager

You have to do a lot of things yourself in the early days, but you may feel confident that you can deal with health and safety too. If you’re not then don’t leave it to chance and either get one of your team or an expert to help manage this. There are plenty of places to go for external advice on these sorts of things – trade unions, councils or just consultants.

Manage risk

Risk management is one of the most important things for a business, in terms of everything. When it comes to health and safety you need to pinpoint hazards in the workplace and find ways to minimise or control them. This will be done through assessing and evaluating regularly so that you can put the right precautions in place.

Training and facilities

It is your responsibility to make sure that everyone in the workplace can work without risk and safely in the workplace. This means that providing the right information and training is your responsibility. Many companies offer days or courses for this. Also, from sanitation to comfort standards, the workplace has to meet a number of levels. This ranges from drinking water to ventilation to using safe materials.

First aid

You need to have arrangements in place to help anyone who gets injured at work. A normal first aid kit should work fine in most workplaces. No matter what happens, it needs to be reported and recorded. This means everything; incidents, injuries or work-related diseases.

All of these things are musts. Don’t forget to get insurance for the business too – employers’ liability insurance will help you in case of a work accident compensation claim. Also, be sure to keep up to date with everything in your industry as well as general health and safety policy.

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