Health and Safety for new start-ups

13/08/20

Emily Oxford

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Whilst it may not be as exciting or glamourous as designing your branding or ordering your first reusable coffee cup with your logo on, the Health and Safety measures you need to implement in your new business should not be dismissed; not doing so could have serious, costly consequences further down the line.


Health and Safety applies to every industry. Considerable legislation covers employees, contractors, the public and your assets - meaning whatever your business does, it will apply to you.


On your checklist of things you need to start your business, insurance will likely be on there – such policies don’t just cover you against disaster, having adequate insurance in place may help you secure finance or a particular business location. 


Once you arrange your business insurance the aim, of course, is to never make a claim. However, this will only happen if you put certain measures in place.  We train ourselves to drive safely, we wear the right PPE (seatbelt!), and we unconsciously risk assess our journeys to account for weather conditions, traffic etc.  You need to apply the same approach to starting and maintaining your business, and for each activity within it. If you get things right from the beginning you will avoid having to claim on your insurance, or at least reduce the claim if things do go wrong.


Health and Safety is a legal requirement under the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974). It’s also your moral responsibility. You will want your business to be seen as a safe, reputable company by your customers, clients and employees.


To get started, think about what industry specific legislation covers your new business, as this will dictate some of the procedures and documentation you’ll require. Then, complete risk assessments and create policies that will demonstrate your commitment to Health and Safety within your business.


Identifying a Competent Person within your company is also a legal requirement. The Competent Person can be you, as owner of the business; however, if you’re not comfortable taking on this legal responsibility or you feel you do not have adequate knowledge of this area, this can be outsourced - and that’s where Health and Safety Support Professionals can help. They can advise you on the right level of compliance for, and the bespoke requirements of, your business.


So, don’t let Health and Safety drop down your list of priorities when it comes to launching your new business. Get everything in order from the outset and your business will be set for great things!


Passport style photo of Emily Oxford

Emily Oxford, H&S Consultant can be contacted on the link in her picture.

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