Careful small business owners take a lot of notice of their responsibilities under the directives from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) but it is important to give help and guidance on a down to earth level, to prevent them spending precious time and money wastefully over-doing it as a recent HSE survey has found.
One business –which was left to remain anonymous –had written guidelines for staff on how to climb stairs and one in five thought that all electrical appliances should be tested by an electrician yearly. There are in fact no hard and fast rules, although guidelines are available –many firms are wasting hundreds of pounds having needless work done, because someone once misread or misremembered the HSE document on the subject.
Health and Safety Officers need regular training
It is easy to get bogged down in all the Health and Safety documentation, which is why some companies are so confused. Most people in charge of Health and Safety in small to medium companies train after they take up the post and this is where things can go wrong –it’s hard to take everything in when there is the day job to do as well. Boss Training have a variety of safety training courses available but for a quick bit of confidence building and something to keep on the desktop for checks between whiles, the HSE have now issued a new guide, the H&S ABC, a new guide to health and safety.
How does the ABC help?
It is broken down into three basic parts, which is helpful right from the start because you don’t have to wade through loads of options to get to where you need to be. Health and Safety Made Simple is a guide to the absolute basics of being a responsible employer and can be printed out if staff would like a copy in their desks or workspace. Health and Safety Toolbox takes things a step further, with buttons to click for specific workplace scenarios, such as work clothes appropriate to tasks and harmful substances. This is a quick go-to page if anyone is unsure what to do. The third, online risk assessments, will be invaluable to any small business, with templates, samples and guidance on what needs to be risk assessed. The HSE, in creating the ABC tool, has made Health and Safety a much easier part of running a small business.
No substitute for training
The Health and Safety Executive would be the first to agree that no matter how helpful an online tool might be, there is no substitute for hands on safety training. When a proper safety training course has been undertaken, the online tool will be much more easily understood, so that each part of the process supports the other. The HSE aim to reduce work-related deaths, injury and ill-health and by creating the ABC they bring lower figures that much closer.