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May 17, 2017

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Small Business Advice

7 steps SMEs can take to manage health and safety risks

The mass of health and safety legislation can be daunting, especially if you’re running a small business.

Ahead of his speaking session at Safety & Health Expo 2017 (register here) David Whitelegg of Triquetra EHS Consultancy Ltd explains the seven practical steps to assess and manage business risks  that should save you a mountain of paperwork.

“Remember that health and safety is based on common sense and applies to EVERYONE from the top down.  These steps will get you off to a good start, but it’s wise to consult an expert to ensure you’re not missing something that could result in an accident and/or a fine.”

1. Identify reasonably foreseeable risks

A risk assessment is basically a process of taking a good look at every area of the workplace to see where accidents might happen.  The next step is to put together strategies to mitigate risks by one or more of the next steps.

2. Eliminate as many of those risks as is practical

Remove hazards or prevent unsafe practices.  This is something that your supervisory and management team should be aware of so that bad habits don’t develop and increase risks unnecessarily – that’s how accidents happen!

3. Reduce risks

This can be done by putting in place safer work practices and carrying out training for relevant staff members.  If fumes are a problem, could less of the chemicals causing them be used?  Could activities take place slower to improve safety?  Would another member of staff assisting make an activity safer?

4. Isolate risks

Removing the risks to specific areas where only necessary personnel are located reduces the likelihood of an accident.  Separating the people from the hazard will also make those who have access to the hazardous area more conscious of the safety issues.

5. Control the risks

This might include training, warning notices, safety checks, method statements etc.  All these help to raise awareness and also put working practices in place that become the norm.  Training people to follow safe working habits is a very effective way of controlling risk in the workplace.

6. Ensure staff use PPE

Providing PPE is only half the battle, it’s essential that it’s used by all personnel who are working in an area where there are risks.  This might include gloves, goggles, overalls, ear protectors and safety boots depending on the situation.  For instance, police officers wear stab vests.  Having one is no use if it’s not worn when needed.  Issuing steel toe-capped boots isn’t enough – regular checks that staff are wearing the correct equipment may be necessary.

7. Discipline

This doesn’t necessarily mean penalising staff who get it wrong, but encouraging people to follow the rules and training is essential.  The HR systems need to be followed.  If people attend training and are taught properly on the job they will get into the habit of following the procedures and avoiding hazards.

Register for Safety & Heath Expo 2017 here.

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Andrew Floyd
Andrew Floyd
5 years ago

Define common sense? Surely if was common and everybody knows about it the rest is an oversimplification.