If you run a business, you have a number of responsibilities. Perhaps the most important is keeping your workforce safe. As a company manager, the blame will lie with you if you fail to comply with guidelines set out by authorities and this results in accidents or injuries. In the past, businesses have been fined thousands of dollars for failing to report health and safety issues, and work accidents are among the most common types of compensation claim.
If you’re a business owner, can you afford not to pay more attention to health and safety in the workplace?
Your legal responsibilities
Every employer has a duty to try and prevent accidents and injuries, and it’s important that you’re aware of the regulations set out by governing bodies like Safe Work Australia and Work, Health and Safety Australia. If you don’t adhere to legal obligations, you may be accused of negligence by your employers, and you could find yourself in deep water. Every aspect of the safety manual should be covered, and you should have policies and procedures in place to reduce the risk of work-related illness and injury.
Preventing common accidents
Some accidents are inevitable, but often, common sense is the most useful weapon against injuries. Slips, trips and falls are the most common type of work accident, so make sure you eliminate possible hazards. Keep an eye on the condition of the flooring and act quickly if employees report signs of damage, such as frayed carpet or loose floor tiles. Put signs up to encourage people to keep doorways, stairwells and corridors clear and encourage your employees to wear suitable footwear. It’s really important to have procedures in place to clean up spillages quickly. Invest in warning signs and make sure they are displayed promptly. Areas such as stairways should be well-lit, and you should have fire safety measures in place, including emergency exit lighting. If you don’t already have these features in your office, you’ll need to contact a commercial electrician. All staff should also be aware of what to do in the event of a fire. If you run a construction business or your employees come into contact with potentially harmful chemicals, you are responsible for providing suitable equipment and ensuring that any tools or clothing your employees use meet safety standards.
The risks of neglecting health and safety
If you neglect health and safety either as a money-saving measure or because you’re unaware of the legalities involved, you run the risk of facing legal action. If you’re proven to be negligent, your employees have every right to claim if they sustain injuries at work. You may also face action from authorities for flouting the rules and putting your workforce at risk.
Health and safety is not the most glamorous subject, but it is important. If you run a company, the people who work for you should feel safe at work. Make every effort to ensure your workplace meets the required standards and ensure you’re up to date with health and safety legislation.