Small Business Health And Safety

As owner of a small business, there are a lot of demands on your time. With so many responsibilities to handle, health and safety requirements can easily drop to the bottom of your list of priorities. However, accidents can happen, even in low-risk businesses, and overlooking health and safety drive up costs in sick pay, absence, and compensation claims. 

For a small business, absence after accidents can have a big impact. One person skipping work due to an injury can be a big part of your workforce, so you need to keep them safe at work. 

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Appoint Someone

To keep things safe, you should appoint someone to take charge of health and safety issues. This person must be competent and must have the training, experience or knowledge that they need to assist you in the best way. This might mean you have to provide formal training in health and safety and might need someone with more specific knowledge for your industry, such as the need for FRC.

Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is an essential part of health and safety in any company. This means you will need to conduct a thorough examination of what could potentially harm your staff when they work. This will give you a starting point to make the decisions on what precautions you might need to enforce. Your team should be involved in the risk assessment, as they can offer more knowledge of what they think could benefit from being changed or improved. Your employees can offer the best advice to help you create a safer workplace, as they’re the ones who have the most knowledge about day to day business and the associated risks. 

The steps for a thorough risk assessment are:

  • Identify the potential hazards
  • Identify who might be harmed and how
  • Evaluate the risks and decide on the precautions needed
  • Record your findings and implement them
  • Review your assessment and update if needed

Very few offices will always stay the same, as new equipment and procedures come into use, which could lead to different dangers. Because of this, you should review your risk assessment on a regular basis. Every 12 months is about right. This is a major part of keeping your business running smoothly. Don’t forget to update your risk assessment any time you make any changes in your business.

Fire Safety

Most fires are preventable. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to conduct a fire safety risk assessment and ensure this assessment is then kept up to date and reviewed on a frequent basis. Make sure you take appropriate measures to lessen the risk of injury or death if a fire does break out. 

Identify what could cause a fire in your workspace, materials that will burn, and employees who might be at risk. Control those risks, and put in place precautions like fire doors, fire extinguishers, fire detection, alarm systems, emergency lighting, fire exits, escape routes (don’t forget disabled members of the team), fire safety signage, and fire drills. 


  • Kate Sarsfield

    Small businesses aren’t just based in offices; think shops, family farms, builders etc. all reliant on the income of that business.

  • Tamra Phelps

    I agree. Trying to ignore safety concerns because they cost money to take care of will be foolish if you wind up paying a lot more because someone gets hurt.

  • Rosie

    I can sure agree with this post! We ended up taking on the maintenance man from the former property management company, as a direct employee. He is not being supervised and is a loose cannon. I was suggesting he be given a list of things he can do, and things not unless given permission. They take no precautions regarding fire safety for anyone. I suggest hiring a private company, do not rely on your town to give you an assessment about safety. Our maintenance man was out almost 2 months from falling off a ladder, and that is worker’s comp claim, plus had to pay for a substitute. Safety can cost money to implement, but is cost savings in the long run!

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