Don’t focus on just meeting your Legal Obligations
We get it, running a small business is a never-ending list of priorities ! However, ensuring that your staff and visitors are not facing unnecessary risks in your workplace should be right up near the top of the pile.
Your health and safety management knowledge should be built through ongoing risk management in the workplace and, aside from fulfilling legal obligations, risk assessment can have more far-reaching benefits too.
Identifying health and safety risks and making improvements to processes and workplace infrastructure is a clear demonstration that employers have a greater interest in their employees’ wellbeing.
When you demonstrate commitment to staff safety and wellbeing, the effects of reduced absences and sick leave plus improved morale and retention have obvious positive impacts on productivity and profit. Add this to reduced insurance claims and premiums, plus a more positive reputation to help drive sales, then the benefits of good health and safety management are clear.
Has COVID made small business owners complacent to other workplace risks?
Adapting to a new way of working has now become the norm. Most businesses are learning to live with the Government’s COVID-secure working guidelines in order to reopen safely and give reassurance to staff and customers.
But, while having confidence in a COVID-secure workplace is important, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently indicated that while the management of COVID-19 remains a clear focus for employers, they must not become complacent to ‘basic’ workplace risks either.
COVID-19 does not remove an employers’ legal obligation to ensure health and safety compliance. Any measures brought in to ensure a safe return to work, should not be at the detriment of other health and safety protocols.
This means employers should continue to identify all hazards within their workplace and take steps to control the risks arising from those hazards. Plus, if you have five or more employees, The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states that – by law – you’re required to record the outcome of these risk assessments in writing, but where do you start ?
Proactive Risk Management keeps you ahead of the game
Simple changes that make health and safety tasks easier, and improve working conditions, are often appreciated by employers and employees alike, and can improve workplace culture and morale.
Elizabeth Turley, Managing Director at SHEQ Site, a business service consultancy that specialises in health and safety says: “When I first started undertaking risk assessments, I was overwhelmed by the amount of information required to encompass an entire workplace. I got caught up in the details and quickly realised that it is certainly true that as a business owner, you don’t know what you don’t know!“
“Undertaking a risk assessment in a small business can often be perceived as a challenge – particularly if it is the first time that a workplace has been risk assessed and the person undertaking the assessments hasn’t got a health and safety background. Not only do you have to consider all of the hazards and risks within the work area, but the assessment needs to be communicated and understood by others who use the space. A tool like CHEQS can really help to identify risks, and walk you through the steps to remove and mitigate them.”
Carrying out workplace risk assessments should promote conversations about the tasks that are undertaken there. Discussing everyday activities is fundamentally important, allowing workers to demonstrate their experience and knowledge of the tasks they complete. This engagement can then generate ideas and lead to changes that increase safety, quality and productivity.
Demonstrate a fair presentation of risk and get business insurance savings
According to The Insurance Act 2015, the ‘duty of fair presentation of risk’ helps define the kind of information that a business owner must provide to their insurer, and the actions that an insurer can take if a business fails to disclose something important.
This can have a direct impact on a business owner’s insurance policy. It could even lead to an insurer voiding a policy if they feel that the business owner failed to make a fair presentation of risk, either deliberately or recklessly.
On the flip side, ensuring that a thorough risk assessment has been carried out can have a positive impact on business insurance premiums, as Steven Darrah, Founder of insurance broker – Fuelled -explains: “One of the factors that drives insurance premiums, particularly in the Employers & Public Liability sections, is the duty of care that companies take towards their employees and the public.
“Businesses that can demonstrate a positive and proactive approach to Health & Safety tend to look more attractive to an insurer. This encourages the application of discounts attributed to a reduction in ‘risk’”.
Steven continues: “Being able to evidence measures such as regular site audits, risk assessments and Health & Safety audits can really benefit a company when it comes to their insurance premium. Utilising software designed specifically for tracking and completing appropriate risk management features, like CHEQS, is the best way to be able to evidence these to an insurer.”
How do we help you help yourself ?
CHEQS helps SME businesses understand and meet their Health & Safety obligations, at an affordable price.
Its straightforward walk-through process enables you to identify the hazards that exist in your workplace. You can then assess the associated risks and put control measures in place to avoid, remove or mitigate them.
The health & safety risk assessment tool from CHEQS was designed specifically for small businesses, and helps by:
- Guiding you through best-practice approaches to identify and manage risks in your workplace
- Providing a simple workflow, including assigning actions and checks
- Involving your team and encouraging a strong health & safety culture
- Instantly generating risk assessment reports in a format well-recognised by industry professionals
- Avoiding outdated paper-based process for better data security, and online access
- Improving health & safety management and control for multi-site operations
- Reducing compliance costs including, potentially, your insurance premiums
- Increasing your knowledge and helping you sleep at night
For more information about CHEQS, and to try the software free for 14-days, visit https://bit.ly/2TkhVqS.