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When you start your own small business, there is a lot that you need to think about. You’ll be worried about boosting sales, defining your marketing strategy, finding your audience, scouting out the competition and recruiting and training staff. One thing that many small business owners neglect, is looking after those staff once they’ve been hired.
This is a mistake. Failing to look after your staff can mean that turnover is high, they’re not motivated to work to their best, that they don’t enjoy their jobs and it can even mean that you are open to lawsuits.
There are many ways to look after your team. You need to offer them flexible working and comfortable working conditions. You need to look after their emotional needs and make sure that they are treated fairly and with consideration. You have to protect them from any bias and workplace discrimination, and you need to protect them from injury and illness. It’s a lot to take on but offering your staff the correct protection can mean that they can do their jobs better, they are happier, they take less time off sick, and they work for you for a lot longer, allowing them to build their skills and become better at their jobs. It’s good for them, and it’s good for you.
The first thing that you can do to protect your staff is offering them the training that they need to do their job safely, without endangering themselves and others. Don’t just give them a quick walkthrough and then throw them in. Spend time on a thorough training program, and buddy them up with a more experienced member of staff for a while before letting them work unsupervised. Then, offer extra training to anyone that needs it, and when anything changes.
The training program that you offer depends on the nature and specifics of your business. But, it should be in-depth, covering every area and not just the tasks they’ll be responsible for day to day.
Perform Risk Assessments
A crucial part of protecting your staff is knowing what it is they need protecting from. Performing regular, and adequate risk assessments gives you a chance to assess the environment of your workplace. To spot things that could be a risk to the health and safety of your staff, and to find ways to minimize that risk with training, avoidance, equipment, and precaution.
Make sure you do different risk assessments for groups like pregnant women, disabled staff and anyone else who might be at a higher risk, as your work environment may pose them different threats. Once completed, keep a record of these risk assessments, the findings and any changes that you have made to reduce risks, should you need them in the future.
Provide them with the Tools they Need
Training is the first tool that your employees need to keep themselves safe. Risk assessments are a tool for you to keep them safe. Then, there’s the industrial safety gear that your staff needs to do their jobs to the best of their ability without injury or accident. Don’t scrimp on this. Pay what you need to get it right, to keep your staff from getting hurt while they do their jobs.
Then, regularly take the time to check this gear, to make sure it’s still in good condition and working well. Replace it when it needs it, checking the market for updates and improvements before making your purchase.
Look After Machinery
Safety gear isn’t the only thing that you need to keep your team safe. You also need to make sure that any machinery and equipment that they use is safe, effective and free from danger. Check the basics yourself every day, install a cleaning and maintenance checklist to keep everything working well and have machines and equipment serviced regularly and repaired and replaced as needed.
Keep an Open Door
A crucial element of health and safety is communication. Your staff needs to be able to come to you if they have a problem, if they are ill or hurt, or if they are worried about their safety. They need to feel comfortable coming to you if they need to take time off, or if they are concerned about how the workplace is affecting your health. You also need them to come to you if they notice a problem with machinery, equipment or other staff, that needs addressing. So, make sure your workplace has an open-door policy. Encourage open communication and honest on the shop floor, and you’ll always know what’s going on.