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Ahead of the game? Or on the edge if caught? Part 2

My recent blog was written in shock.

Having done so much training myself (and actually sitting here doing my Nebosh) I'm still wondering why SME'S are not outsourcing and getting ahead of the game.

Is it just a game of Russian Roulette with each site and each job?

A case of gambling with Health and Safety and hoping that by not placing too high a stake you won't loose too much?

Here are Six Common Pitfalls to Avoid for Small Business Owner to stay Legal and Safe

Running a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) comes with its fair share of challenges, especially when it comes to staying on the right side of the law. Here are six critical areas to focus on to avoid legal troubles and ensure a safe working environment for your employees.

1. Neglecting Competent Health and Safety Advice

As a business owner or director, it's crucial to seek help from someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in health and safety matters. This expert will help you identify hazards and implement sensible controls to protect your business from potential issues or claims. Having competent health and safety advice is not just a precaution—it's a necessity for safeguarding your business.

2. Ignoring Workplace Injury Risks

In the 2019/20 period, 693,000 people in full-time work sustained workplace injuries, leading to approximately 6.3 million lost workdays. Many of these incidents could have been prevented with comprehensive health and safety training. Ensuring that your employees are properly trained and certified, especially for high-risk tasks like working at height, can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and legal penalties.

3. Skipping Required Risk Assessments

Businesses that fail to conduct proper health and safety and fire risk assessments can face hefty fines—up to £450,000 for businesses under £2 million turnover, and up to £1 million for those turning over between £2-10 million. Regular risk assessments help identify and mitigate workplace hazards, such as blocked fire escapes or improper storage of flammable materials, ensuring a safer environment for everyone.

4. Overlooking First Aid Training and Protocols

Every workplace should have appropriate first aid arrangements. In low-risk environments, a basic first aid kit and an appointed individual to manage first aid are sufficient. However, higher-risk workplaces require trained first aiders on site. Ignoring this can lead to unlimited fines and, more importantly, can jeopardize employee safety. Providing clear first aid arrangements is essential to prevent and handle injuries effectively.

5. Failing to Maintain Proper Ventilation and Air Quality

Adequate ventilation is a legal requirement and critical for employee health. Poor ventilation can lead to serious health issues, such as occupational asthma, as seen in a case where an engineering company was fined £15,000 after an employee's diagnosis. Ensure your workplace has a sufficient supply of fresh air through windows, doors, or controlled ventilation systems to prevent health risks and legal penalties.

6. Skipping Asbestos Checks and Precautions

Buildings constructed before 2000 may contain asbestos, a hazardous material that can cause fatal illnesses. Businesses must conduct professional asbestos surveys to identify and manage any presence of this substance. Failing to do so can result in fines exceeding £20,000 and severe health risks for employees. Awareness and proper management of asbestos are critical to complying with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

By paying attention to these six areas, you can create a safer workplace, avoid legal pitfalls, and focus on growing your business. Remember, proactive management of health and safety not only protects your employees but also secures your business against potential legal and financial consequences.

Bennett Business Partnership can help with all your future business needs.

Drop me an email and keep safe.

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