04 Feb Essential health and safety for your business: Fire risk assessments, first aid training and more
Just like you should invest in heavy-duty door locks and CCTV cameras to keep your business secure, you must also consider the many ways you could keep your commercial premises safe. Whether you run a marketing company, retail establishment, hotel or family-run cafe, it’s essential to protect your building and everyone within it against common threats, including electrical safety issues, fires and other potential hazards.
As a business manager, you will inevitably have a long list of tasks to complete, deadlines to meet and clients to please, but it’s still important to make time for health and safety. This could be booking in fire risk assessments on time, investing in first aid training for your employees, scheduling portable appliance testing (PAT) – or all three!
Here’s why it’s time to update your work calendar with the health and safety-related services your business needs this year, with some of the more important services to add to your list.
Why health and safety are so important at work
If you hire employees or have customers, ensuring their health and safety is one of your biggest responsibilities in the workplace. It’s extremely important to put measures in place to prevent accidents and injuries, and this includes keeping your commercial premises well-maintained. Promoting good health and safety means minimising all risks to everyone within your property for the following reasons:
Keeping your employees safe is extremely important. Everyone deserves to feel safe and secure at work, so don’t expect your staff to work in a building or to use practices that could pose a threat to their health at any point.
Remember – keeping your employees safe isn’t just about protecting them from physical harm. Working in an unsafe environment could also affect your team’s mental wellbeing; if you don’t feel safe at work, you are highly unlikely to feel supported or valued.
Your customers also deserve to feel safe in your property. If there’s any risk of your property threatening their health and safety, you must address the issue in question. Otherwise, you may be responsible for accidents and injuries.
You will also leave your business vulnerable to a tarnished reputation and even legal action. The financial repercussions of this could be catastrophic, especially if your company is responsible for a severe or fatal injury.
It’s good business practice to keep your employees, customers and anyone else who uses or visits your commercial property safe from harm, but there are also financial incentives for doing so. After all, by preventing accidents and injuries, you can prevent employee absenteeism, reduce business downtime, protect your building against costly damages and keep your reputation intact.
If you’re under the impression that putting health and safety measures in place isn’t a worthwhile investment, the statistics prove otherwise. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the cost of workplace self-reported injuries and ill health cost Britain £16.2 billion between 2018 and 2019, with over a million people injured or made ill by their place of work every year.
Prioritising health and safety in the workplace isn’t just about altruism or reducing business downtime – it’s also a legal requirement. Under The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, all employers are legally obligated to ‘ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.’
Employees who fail to adhere to the regulations could face fines and legal action, so it’s vital to make health and safety one of your highest priorities.
Essential health and safety tips for your business
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 doesn’t offer exact, step-by-step guidance on what businesses need to do to protect their employees and customers, so it is your responsibility to identify and resolve areas where your company’s health and safety could be improved. These will largely depend on the industry you work in, your work environment, how many employees you hire and a range of other factors.
Here are five ways to improve the health and safety of your commercial property:
Conduct fire safety risk assessments and install fire alarms and sprinklers
Improving your company’s fire safety is one of the most important steps you can take. If a fire starts in your building, it could cause severe injuries, respiratory illnesses and fatalities. Fires can also cause monumental property damage.
We cannot understate the importance of fire safety equipment such as fire alarms, fire extinguishers, fire doors and sprinkler systems, so make sure these are installed by trained engineers and inspected frequently by fire safety experts.
In addition to fitting fire safety equipment, it’s also essential to book a fire safety risk assessment. This is a legal requirement under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in England and Wales as a crucial way to identify potential fire hazards.
To book your fire risk assessment, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. As the leading fire risk assessment company in Watford, we’re well-equipped to improve your fire safety procedures.
Inspect your emergency lighting regularly
In the event of a power failure, your employees and customers will rely on your property’s emergency lighting to guide them towards the nearest exit. Not only will emergency lights keep everyone within your building much calmer, but they could also actively prevent people from walking towards hazards, such as fires.
You must test your emergency lighting once a month and hire an accredited engineer to conduct a more thorough examination at least once a year. During this inspection, the engineer will make sure your emergency lights function properly for three hours and advise you on any repairs and replacements you might need.
Schedule electrical inspections and portable appliance testing (PAT)
To prevent electrical-related fires and other incidents, it’s vitally important that you make regular electrical inspections part of your property maintenance routine. Faulty plug outlets, exposed wires and damaged fuse boxes could threaten the safety of your employees and property, so make sure to hire qualified electricians for inspection and maintenance work.
This should include portable appliance testing (PAT) which can help you stay compliant with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. Having any portable electrical appliances examined regularly can help you prevent everything from electric shocks to fires, so it needs to be a priority.
Prevent gas-related accidents with gas safety inspections
In addition to improving your electrical safety standards, you also have a responsibility to keep your employees and customers safe from gas-related accidents. Gas leaks can be extremely serious with devastating consequences, so you must make sure you’re up to date with your gas safety responsibilities.
These include fitting carbon monoxide detectors in your commercial premises (and having them tested regularly) and hiring Gas Safe registered engineers to inspect any gas appliances in the property. Making sure all gas appliances are maintained to a standard that prevents risk to your workforce is a legal requirement under the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998.
Train your employees in first aid
Unfortunately, accidents and injuries do occur in the workplace. Prevention is always better than treatment, but in the event that an employee, customer or contractor falls ill or becomes injured, you will need to act quickly. The most efficient way to guarantee that they will receive immediate attention is to have a first-aider on-site at all times.
Training your employees in first-aid could help to stop work-related accidents and illnesses from developing, and in extreme cases, could also prevent fatalities. Nevertheless, having first-aiders on-site is not a substitute for health and safety precautions, so you still need to focus on your property’s fire, gas and electrical safety measures.
AK Fire: Fire safety experts offering fire safety risk assessments, fire alarm systems, PAT testing and more
Keep your property fire safe with help from AK Fire, the leading fire safety experts based in Watford. Our mission is clear: to protect your premises, keep you and your employees safe, and help you stay compliant according to British Standards. Whether you require fire alarm systems, fire sprinklers, emergency lighting, nursing home alarms or fire risk assessment services, our friendly and highly-qualified team of experts are just a phone call away.
To learn more about our fire safety services, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. We look forward to working with you.