The American philosopher Ralph Emerson once said, rather neatly, that ‘in skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed’. As wisdom goes, it’s fun and quotable yet, for businesses, it really isn’t the way to operate. Safety shouldn’t be rushed and thin ice should certainly be avoided – a business that takes too many risks or is flippant in the face of danger risks folding.
But how do you know if you’re actually safe? Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether or not you are complying with basic safety regulations…
Do I know all the hazards my business faces?
This is pretty important. If you’re oblivious to the problems you face then it stands to reason that you’ll struggle to overcome them. When did you last have a full audit of your workplace? Take a look around, work out what might be a problem and identify how you can minimise the risk.
Do we have the right attitude to safety?
There are two ways you can go wrong when it comes to safety. Either you can operate in a blasé fashion and disregard issues or you can be dictatorial and too prescriptive. It’s important to find the middle ground, taking this seriously while not forcing employees to feel inhibited in the way they operate. People should feel it is their duty to report safety issues and know who they must contact in order to do so. A good working atmosphere and a strong sense of collective responsibility among staff should help with this.
Do I know the law?
Laws change and so too do aspects of the way you do business. Make sure you are up to date with the latest regulations in your field, particularly for new functions that you my have taken on.
Do I take all of the business into account?
Safety isn’t simply a matter for the office. Every aspect of your working operation needs to covered. That means people driving and delivering on behalf of your company and their safety while out on the road.
Do I use the right specialist equipment?
If you’re engaged in complex, intricate operations then you will need to be using the very best specialist equipment in order to stay safe. This can cover a whole range of items – from earmuffs to scaffolding to paint spray booths. Make sure you review the equipment you use to ensure it fits with safe working practices.
Do I have a policy?
All of the above really ought to be covered in an easy-to-access safety policy. Make sure this policy is reviewed regularly and is available for any member of staff to look at if they’re unsure about any safety matters.
Ask yourself all of the above questions. If you’re not able to answer them with confidence then you’re likely to be lacking when it comes to meeting basic safety regulations.
The subjects covered here are the equivalent of Emerson’s thin ice. Don’t simply try to rush over these matters in the hope that you won’t fall into bother. Address the points thoroughly and you’ll be on solid ground for a sound and successful future.
Next: read our guide on Business Insurance