When you first start up a new business, there will be a lot on your mind. Developing your product or service, making those critical early sales, hiring expert marketers to spread the word – they are all important for any startup. However, one thing that won’t cross your mind – we can almost guarantee – is health and safety.
After all, you’re only a startup, right? And what could possibly go wrong when you are working in a close knit team? Well, the simple truth is that you have to take health and safety seriously right from the very start of your enterprise. Fail to do so, and there may not be any enterprise left. Let’s take a closer look at some of the areas you need to cover.
The first step is to ensure your employees all have the relevant training to do their jobs in a healthy and safe way. You can’t afford to assume anything – you need to train them and get a signature to prove they have been through the relevant scenarios. Health and safety training isn’t just for specialist workers, either. Anyone that picks up a box from the floor, for example, could sue you if they hurt their back and they haven’t had training. And make no mistake about it, if you don’t run health and safety sessions and ensure people know how to use equipment, it could land you in severe trouble with the courts.
Another major part of a robust health and safety policy is to run regular risk assessments. It doesn’t matter whether your startup is in the software development industry or manufacturing, every workplace has its dangers – and you need to perform checks. Establish all risks in the workplace, and ensure you are doing all you can to measure and control them. Don’t forget, the law insists you have a risk assessment policy if you have more than five employees – so many startups will fall under this remit. It’s a big mistake if you don’t.
Maintenance and equipment checks
Regular maintenance is a must, whatever equipment you are using. You should also be arranging testing – PUWER inspections, for example – to make sure that all your gear is safe and up to regulatory standards. Again, it doesn’t matter if you are a small startup or a large one – getting into the habit of regular maintenance and equipment checks will stand you in good stead for the future.
Find some help
If all this sounds a little bemusing, don’t panic. Help is available, and it might be a good idea to get in touch with a third party HR service, who can help you ensure that your business is on the right track regarding health and safety. In fact, if you plan on employing a lot of people in your first year or two of business, it might be worth hiring an HR professional on a full-time basis. It will give you an excellent foundation for your health and safety program going forward.
As you can see, health and safety is a vital part of every business – including your startup. It doesn’t have to be complicated – but it does need to be in your thoughts.