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Does what it says on the tin – The importance of health and safety labels

Photo shows a label warning about radioactive materialsWhether you’re a small start-up business or you’re an established company with well over 100 employees, having an established set of health and safety procedures and protocols is always essential. It is likely that you have a wide range of different procedures in the event anything goes wrong within your business, including what to do in the event of a fire, or accident or injury. Any business owner with some sense would know that this is one of the most basic aspects of running a business, to make sure that both you and your employees are covered in an emergency situation.

Along the same vein, making sure that hazardous areas and materials that might be used by your employees have the correct health and safety labels on them is also incredibly important. Read on to find out how having the proper health and safety labels can help to reduce the number of accidents in your workplace.

Preventing unnecessary accidents

If something is clearly labelled as dangerous, people are less likely to mess with it or mess around near it. However if something is not properly labelled – or worse, mislabelled – that is where accidents and injuries can occur. While you will have an established health and safety manual and procedures in place in case anything goes wrong, it is better to learn to prevent an incident altogether than to learn how to effectively clean up after an incident. Preventing unnecessary accidents reduces the downtime spent on repairs and recovery and will also help to increase productivity in your business.

Cover in the event of misuse or injury

If something is mislabelled and then an employee mistakenly uses it, thinking it is another chemical or product – with disastrous effects – the fault is often with you as the employer. You are responsible for overseeing everything your employees do and so you are responsible for their failings as well. Take a cleaning company for example; if your employee is not properly trained and the chemicals not properly labelled, and they end up damaging a sofa or a carpet of a client, you are responsible for any damages caused. By properly labelling your products and chemicals, you can prevent issues such as this occurring and you can absolve yourself from blame if a client happens to make a mistake.

It is the law!

Business owners have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees. So if you aren’t following the national health and safety recommendations and requirements, you could be breaking the law or even forcing your own employees to work illegally. While every business sector has their own specific health and safety requirements, there are universal procedures that should be put in place to ensure employee safety.

Along this same vein, there are health and safety labels provided for a number of hazardous or otherwise dangerous products that need to be used properly if you are working in the construction or catering industry, for example. If your employees are working with hazardous chemicals, it is illegal for those chemicals not to be labelled properly to avoid accidents. Make sure you know your responsibilities as an employer!

Universal way of training new employees

If you don’t have the time to spare to offer extensive training to new employees, but can still offer a basic health and safety training course, health and safety labels will be able to help employees to learn on the job. If everything is labelled accordingly and they go by the descriptions on those labels, employees will be able to quickly pick up what is needed of them, to ensure a safe working environment. If nothing is properly labelled, new employees will be more likely to make silly mistakes and this can cost both time and money to rectify.

At any level of business, when you are responsible for any number of employees, proper health and safety protocol is absolutely essential. If you don’t have the relevant procedures put in place and something disastrous happens, you could end up paying out of pocket and even suffer both employee and reputational damage – if the accident is major.

In order to avoid having to pay out costly insurance claims in court, always make sure to label all chemicals clearly. Any equipment that is potentially harmful or hazardous should have the relevant warning labels attached to avoid repercussions. It is common knowledge, and something you should definitely place as a high priority as the managing director in any company.


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Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with Sussex-based label manufacturer Southern United.

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