Managing your health & safety

There are many challenges involved in running a business. Clients come to you for your skills, knowledge and experience and because the product/service you provide is of value to them. But in addition to this you will also need to know about marketing, accounting, contract law, legislation, personnel….the list goes on!

When including Health & Safety in this long ‘to-do list’ sometime companies can perceive it as time consuming, cash draining, red-tape, bureaucratic or an inconvenience. “There’s never been an accident here…” is a frequently quoted mantra but unless you are managing health & safety then you are putting your staff, your business and potentially your liberty, at risk.

The new strategy is called ‘Go Home Healthy’. Everyone has the right to go home in the same condition as they started and to live to enjoy a long and healthy retirement. As an employer you have a duty to protect the health of your workers. This needn’t be time consuming, is actually straight forward and can save you money, when well managed.

It may be that you will need some help to manage your health & safety and in which case you need to ensure that any advisor is competent to do so. A competent person is someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to assist you properly. The level of competence required will depend on the complexity of the situation and the particular help you need.

Sadly, some companies make a knee-jerk reaction in attempt to and make their “H&S problems” go away by signing up with a corporate H&S advice company and end up locked into a long contracts (7 to 10 years!!). Much of the information and advice they receive is generic and seldom sufficient to protect them or their employees.

Consider these points if you are looking to get help.

  • Plan what you would like the advisor to do for you and check they are clear and understand this. Ask them to give you a breakdown of the work, what they will carry out and how much they will charge.
  • Ask to see evidence of relevant training/knowledge. This could be formal qualifications or practical experience of providing advice in your industry/area of work. What makes them competent to advise you? If you need additional support to manage your systems, then you should look for a company that is qualified & experienced within the industry and will help guide you with regular visits and advice. Avoid ‘off the peg’ solutions backed up with just remote support.
  • Get quotes from several providers to check that you will be receiving good value for money. If you were buying materials or equipment you’d shop around for the right price and the same applies here. Be cautious of being drawn into any long-term contracts where the amount per month seems relatively low. It may seem only a small amount to pay per month but over time but is it worth the total cost? Some large H&S corporations may have the glitz and shine, but this can fade quickly once you’re locked into a contract.
  • Check that the person or company you appoint is adequately insured.
  • Remember, the onus and responsibility remain with you as the employer to ensure that your business complies with H&S law and legislation. You are also responsible for ensuring that any consultant you appoint is suitable and competent. Management of H&S can be straight forward to implement. Ask yourself, with some help, could you do it yourself? The BWF can help you with this decision process.

If you would like to discuss any of the above with us then please get in touch for a free, no-obligation discussion.