In the first of three articles on the key points to protect your business, I will guide you through what you need to be doing to protect your business, staff and reputation through a sustained and systematic approach to ensure you hold onto what you have worked so hard to build.
The law says that you have to have good health and safety arrangements (Regulation 5 Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation 1999). To give a structure to this the Health and Safety Executive created a guide called Managing for Health and Safety (HSG 65) this is known as the Plan, Do, Check, Act model.
Image credit: © HSE HSG 65
Starting with PLAN, if you employ more than 5 people you need to have a safety policy. This is where we start the safety journey as the policy sets the direction of travel of how you as a business will organise and arrange compliance. Consider changes and foreseeable threats to your business in this element.
Plan some targets you want to achieve and put some dates to these. Don’t just say "we will reduce accidents" - think about positive measures like training days for your staff and inspections of equipment.
Parts two and three of this series will detail under the DO section how to set up a risk assessment machine and how Swiss Cheese features in your controls. This will help you to identify the hazards to your business and what you can do to prevent them causing harm to people, plant, property and the environment. (Don’t just think blood on the ground, all of these issues potentially impact your bottom line)
In the implementation section, you need to think about how you are going to consult with your workforce (safety briefings, formal 1 – 2 – 1) and communicate including training, verbal chats, written down procedures and use of posters etc.
We as business owners know what gets measured gets done, so where you have set some targets, how do you CHECK that they are being achieved? Inspections and audits, as well as accident and near miss investigations, fit into this section.
Showing that you respond to issues raised in business is how we survive. If a client is unhappy we adapt and change our working practices. Health and safety is no different - if you note an issue then learn those lessons and ACT upon them. How do we act? Well we form a new PLAN and round we go again.
Therefore the purpose of the model is to archive continuous improvement in your business, so even if you only implement one new thing this will lead to a 1% improvement and slowly those 1% become 10% and you start to sleep better, business turnover improves, and your staff feel loved and appreciated. Health and Safety, what’s not to love? 😊
- Alastair Barrett MRICS, CMIOSH, CMaPS, OSHCR | Managing Director, What No Safety Services Ltd (EC approved supplier)