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6 Health and Safety Tips for Small Businesses

We have put together 6 Tips for Small Businesses to help them on their journey to compliance with Health and Safety.

We often hear from smaller companies that they are worried or unsure about Health and Safety. Sometimes it’s because of the negative stories and myths often shared in mainstream media, other times it is because of time constraints or a lack of knowledge. This hesitation can lead some to bury their head and avoid the subject, but this just exposes both the employer and the workforce to unnecessary risks. Here are a few helpful tips to get you going –

Make sure you have the right support

A great place to start is considering who will be responsible for what within the business when it comes to Health and Safety to ensure it is effectively managed. That means having someone that has the relevant knowledge, skills and experience to undertake the required duties. This may be multiple people depending on the set up of the business.

Take the time to consider if you already have the competency internally to undertake this. If you don’t feel like you can effectively manage Health and Safety in-house, such as a lack of resource or higher risk levels, then don’t risk it. There are many options to into look for external support and guidance, such as using a Health and Safety Consultancy like Orchard Compliance Solutions.

Keep in the know

As with most things in business, Health and Safety Legislation can evolve in various ways over time so it’s important to make sure you are aware of the changes that may affect your business in advance.

There are a whole host of available options to keeping up with the world of Health and Safety, so to help we have listed a few for you –

  • Use the HSE website – Here you can find free copies of approved codes or practice, guidance notes and updates surrounding legislation with their free bulletin service.
  • Sign up to relevant industry newsletters and read trade publications. These often have sector specific updates that can be easier to digest.
  • Speak to an external expert. For example, Orchard Compliance Solutions offer an advice-line service to all our clients and provide regular updates regarding health and safety via email newsletters to ensure they are kept up to date.

Consider your audience and avoid over complicated paperwork

We will all have seen it at some point. The imposing Health and Safety folder crammed full of paperwork, most of which has been written in legal jargon by someone that just ends up making heads spin.

The truth is, chances are it is causing more harm than good, because what use is a big, cluttered and hard to understand system when nobody wants to read or engage with it?

When putting together Health and Safety paperwork, consider who is going to be the real audience you want to reach and why you are doing it. Take risk assessments as a prime example, so often have we seen risk assessments thrown together just to tick a box, rather than focusing on the point that the whole reason that risk assessment exists is to keep workers and people around them healthy and safe.

Remember, it doesn’t matter how big and shiny the folder is, or the number of forms, what matters is the content – make it simple, understandable and easy to use so your workforce can engage with it.

Promote a positive culture

It’s no secret that Health and Safety has had a bad rap over the years. As you bring people into your business you may have to fight against a persons preconceptions when it comes to the subject. Workers may need prompts to remind them why Health and Safety is important.

It isn’t always a quick and easy task, but there are ways you can help, such as –

  • Leading by example from the top down with the right attitude and behaviour
  • Directors and Management being seen getting actively involved with Health and Safety initiatives
  • Show an open door policy approach to Health and Safety matters and encourage communication
  • Providing regular training
  • Communicating and involving your workforce within Health and Safety

Involve your workforce

Did you know that there are legal obligations to consult with your employees with Health and Safety matters? Not only that, but if you don’t consult with them you may be missing out on some vital information.

Your workforce will all have insight or ideas in their own way on how to help improve Health and Safety in the business, whether it be spotting potential hazards or coming up with improved working processes. Often, the team on the front-line can identify hazards which would be missed by Supervisors as they are the ones undertaking the activities on a day-to-day basis.

Never overlook your workforce’s knowledge and thoughts when addressing Health and Safety, remember it is a team goal and it will take everyone working together to help and promote a positive culture.

Keep on top of training

Keep you and your workforce up to date with relevant and regular training. As a minimum you should give all employees Health and Safety Awareness training to ensure that they know key risks and their responsibilities/duties, this could be internally (e.g. during induction) or via an external course.

Some roles and activities will require specific training, so it is advisable to map down the training and requirements for each employee and record completed training in a matrix to ensure you are keeping on top of your training needs.

Internal bite-size training sessions and tool box talks are a simple, easy and cost-effective way to keep your workforce up to date and subjects/content be tailored to relevant topics at the time.

If you think you need some additional help with Health and Safety, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Orchard Compliance Solutions team on 0800 118 1674 or

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