Better Safe Than Sorry

As the owner of a start-up business this responsibility now lies with you, and not only to ensure the safety of your employee’s but also any visitors to your premises, people who live and work nearby and any one affected by the products and services you design, manufacture or sell to the public.

Register Your Business

A priority as you launch your start-up business is to register with the relevant authorities if you work within an industry which is hazardous, or you use dangerous substances and materials. For businesses within these types of industries it is important to find out whether you require a licence to operate and whether you need to register with both the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and your local authority.

If you are unsure as to whether your business is the type which requires registration you can find out more through the HSE.

Assess the Health and Safety Risks in your Environment

Every business, no matter which industry they are a part of, have to meet the legal minimum health and safety standards. It is advisable that you aim for the highest level of health and safety however, in order to ensure your employee’s have an enjoyable environment to work in, not just the bare minimum level of safety.

The first point of call is to conduct a health and safety assessment, consider where your employees could potentially be injured. Identify the risks and make a note in an official document, including what you plan to do to rectify the potential hazards.

You should review the health and safety in your business premises every six months or whenever there is a significant change in the way your business is run, the type of production or the number of employees present.

Employee’s Rights

Before you hire your first employee you must be fully aware of their rights regarding health and safety. You must provide the following:

–          Clean Toilets

–          Hand Basins

–          Soap

–          Means to Dry Hands

–          Fresh Drinking Water

–          Good Lighting and Ventilation

–          Clean Working Areas with Sufficient Space (recommended 11 cubic metres per person by HSE)

–          Temperature of at least 16 degrees when employees remain stationary, 13 degrees if employees move around as part of duties

When setting out the layout within your premises bear in mind that employees and visitors must be able to manoeuvre around without being in danger of injuring themselves. There must also be a rest area and for those industries where employees wear special clothing, a changing area as well.

Take Responsibility and Plan Effectively

You need to be aware from the very beginning how you plan to deal with medical emergencies in the working environment that you have set up. First aid kits have to be kept in an accessible location for all employees to be able to quickly reach them and there should also be an accident book and a system in place for reporting any serious injuries on site, incidents and diseases that may be relevant to the authorities.

One person on your staff must be responsible for overseeing the health and safety for the entire company. These will be up to date with health and safety issues and legislation. You should also provide regular health and safety training for all employees. It is a good idea to have specific training if your type of business requires it.

In positions where relevant around the business you should place posters and warning signs that can be provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

When it comes to your business, you will be aware if you are producing or emitting hazardous materials or substances as part of the processes in place at your premises. You have a legal duty to inform the local authority and the HSE if this is the case.

When you are setting up a start-up business, being aware of the legal obligations in regard to the health and safety of your employees, surrounding areas and the public is extremely important. Putting in place safe standards of work and practicing regular training and upgrading of processes and machinery will ensure that you not only stay within the legal boundaries no matter which industry you are in, but also have a workforce happy that they are safe and secure when they come to work.

To find out more about the different aspects to consider when creating a start-up business, take a browse through our advice pages.

You can also join our Google+ Community “Startup in Britain” which is packed with help, resources and articles to get you started. Use it to get tips, advice and start building your network!

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