As an employer, you have countless responsibilities, none of which are more important than keeping your staff safe from harm. This responsibility is enshrined in law, and is vitally important to the trust employees place in their bosses.
You may not run a construction yard with cranes lifting heavy loads overhead, but there are always safety risks. No matter how safe your place of work seems, it is always an employer’s responsibility to look out for and prevent hazards. These are some of the most common risks experienced in the workplace, and ones that you may face as an employer.
Wherever you operate your business, there is likely to be a risk of fire. According to Euro Fire Protection common workplace fire hazards include obvious things like smoking, faulty electrical equipment, and overloading power sockets, but also other hazards such as storing combustible material on site, human error and even dust build-up.
You can reduce the risk of fire to your premises by checking electrical equipment is safe and no sockets are overloaded; having your plug sockets PAT tested regularly is one way to make sure of this. There are other less obvious approaches to tackling fire risk, such as keeping the workplace free of clutter (especially flammable clutter), installing smoke detectors and heat detectors, and make sure all emergency exits are accessible in case a fire does break out.
A key holding service is another solution to this issue which you may not have considered; they can organise an emergency response team to visit your property in the case of a gas leak, helping solve this issue before it turns into a fire.
Slips & trips
Though the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have given these incidents a fairly lighthearted name, slips and trips are one of the most common workplace dangers in the country. In 2014 alone there were over 20,000 slips and trips at UK businesses. These frequent accidents cause untold personal injury, and are thought to cost UK employers up to £500 million per year. On the bright side, slips and trips are also very preventable.
To combat slips, trips and falls on their premises, several companies have implemented their own unique slips and trips policies. Biscuit firm Fox’s uses positive reinforcement to encourage warehouse workers to only use designated safe walkways. EDF Energy launched a “massive communication campaign” to raise awareness about slips and trips within the company, and they had staff participate in activity days to encourage practices that would reduce slips and trips.
While break-ins are a known safety hazard, employers may not plan ahead for them the same way they would for other risks with more direct links to day-to-day office work. However, Business Matters magazine go so far as to point out that commercial property break-ins happen every day, and should be accepted as “a fact of life.”
Figures quoted in the magazine say one burglary happens every 38 seconds in the UK, and that commercial properties are “prime targets”. To avoid a burglary at your business, make sure the building is fully secure. Strong windows, doors and locks are essential to business safety. You can do this by installing window bars, using door and window shutters and replacing any locks that don’t meet BSI Kitemark standards.
Businesses can also defend themselves from potential burglars by monitoring and controlling who comes in and out of the premises using access control systems. With access control, those trying to gain entry to a building will have to identify themselves either over a telecom, video feed, or by using a passcode, before they may enter. Smallbusiness.co.uk also recommends tracking all the keys to your office to make sure none of them fall into the wrong hands, and only issuing keys to employees when absolutely essential.
With all of these measures in place, your office will be protected from three of the most threatening everyday safety hazards in business.