Although it would be easy to get bogged down in the red tape there is a simple way in which employers should look at this aspect of their business; build a workplace that you feel safe and comfortable in.
When you first start using a business location rather than a virtual office as you work from home, you have to think about the health and safety of not only your employees but also any visitors to your premises, people who live and work nearby your premises and any customer who buys your products or use your services.
The majority of new premises for businesses are not required to register with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or with their local council. This changes however, when a business uses dangerous substances on their premises or it is working within a hazardous industry.
If you are not sure whether your business requires registration you can find out what the legal obligations of your industry are on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.
Health and Safety Awareness
Every business premises in the UK has to meet the minimum standards of health and safety. It is best that you look to implement the highest standard of safety in the workplace (finances permitting) then you should never have any problems.
When first setting up the premises you should carry out a risk assessment to find out which aspects employees could potentially injure themselves. There are a number of things that could cause an injury or sickness in the workplace:
– – Loose floor tiles
– – Exposed cables
– – Wet/slippery flooring
On top of this there are also examples of tasks in the workplace that could lead to injury or illness:
– – Excessive noise
– – Vehicles on site
– – Exposure to hazardous substances/materials
– – Risk of fire
It is recommended that you carry out a risk assessment around every 6 months and if you have more than 5 individuals on your staff records, your risk assessment has to be written down and kept for your records.
There is no need to live in fear of health and safety, just make sure you are always aware of the main basic principles and work in an environment that is safe, where common sense prevails and your employees feel able to work effectively without worrying about their health and safety.
Health and Safety Rights of Employees
Before you hire your first employee you should be fully aware of the health and safety rights that they will hold. The following must be provided on your premises to employees:
– – Fresh drinking water
– – Clean toilet facilities
– – Hand basins, soap and the means to dry hands
– – Recommended 11 cubic metres of space per individual
– – Good lighting
– – Good ventilation
On top of these basic functions the layout of your premises must be taken into consideration. Working areas must be maintained to a clean standard and employees must be able to walk safely around the premises.
Temperature is also a consideration with a minimum of 16ºC for premises where employees remain stationary, and 13ºC if employees move around a lot as part of their daily duties.
There must also be an area where employees can relax and spend time during breaks, and there should also be a completely separate smoking area, away from the doors and windows of the premises and where non-smoking employees will not be affected.
If you work in an industry where employees have to change their clothing in the workplace, you as the employer have to provide them with an area in which to get changed in in privacy.
Take the initiative from the offset when starting your new business. There are a number of things you can ensure you have in place to outflank any potential problems and pitfalls that you could encounter.
Put in place first aid kits that are easily accessible to all employees. Ensure that there is one person (or a small number of individuals) responsible for health and safety within the company. Once this system is in place you can hold regular health and safety training, talking about specific training relating to your industry and/or your premises.
Around the building you should have posters, leaflets and signage should there be specific potential hazards. Should any accident take place the company should have an accident book and an effective system that allows employees to report any serious injuries that may have occurred.
Government legislation towards the environmental concerns of businesses have heavy and unlimited fines. You have to consider how your company deals with its waste and consumption, with any environmental damage directly linked to your company leading to potential fines.
Your business should not cause a disturbance through the following means:
– – Smoke
– – Fumes
– – Dust
– – Noise
– – Light pollution
– – Accumulation of rubbish
Those start-up businesses which are within the electrical and electronic equipment sector are obliged under EU law to recycle their consumers’ waste electrical and electronic goods.
If your business could potentially create excessive trade effluent, you must seek permission from the water company, with the local authority and Environment Agency needed to check emissions from your business premises into the air.
Following health and safety protocol is a must for any business. Getting these aspects right as a start-up business will provide a platform of performing in the right way, keeping your staff safe from harm and staying within government guidelines.
To learn more about different aspects that you have to consider as the owner of a start-up business we have a number of resources relating to employment issues, keeping costs down at the beginning through the hiring of virtual officesand using hired meeting room for new business, and how generate new business.