How to build a carefully considered health and safety strategy for your business

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Health and Safety|How to build a carefully considered health and safety strategy for your businessIt is estimated that you will spend more of your time in your place of work than in your own home. Considering this, it is likely that you and your colleagues will experience accidents and mishaps at some point. Health and safety issues can become costly for your business, in terms of both awarding monetary compensation and also potentially being damaging to your reputation; therefore, it is important that you craft a thorough health and safety strategy for your employees to follow. Here is a short guide to how to build a carefully considered health and safety strategy for your business.

1. Identify specific issues and try to rectify them

First and foremost, identify any health and safety issues that could potentially affect your business and employees. These might be easy to spot; if your business manufactures goods, for instance, obvious health and safety issues would be raised around using heavy machinery safely. Once identified, try to come up with solutions that could be put into place immediately. For example, safety eyewear and ear protection should be required when using machinery in a manufacturing environment. Other health and safety issues might not be so obvious, however, especially if your business is office based with no clear hazards. Nevertheless, your employees might be susceptible to such issues as eye strain from using screens for prolonged periods without a break. Furthermore, people working in all industries could potentially develop work related stress if an effective work-life balance is not implemented.

2. Ensure that you have a well-stocked and comprehensive first aid kit

From painful papercuts to trapped fingers, minor accidents are a part of life and are likely to be experienced in your place of work. Therefore, it is important that you have a first aid kit on hand that is easily accessible and well-stocked – no one wants to have the nasty discovery that there are no bandaids to cover a painful cut. As well as standard first aid items like bandaids, Tylenol, and antiseptic wipes, you should also make sure that you are prepared for any medical emergency that your business may experience. This might include first aid items particularly relevant to your business, such as treatment for chemical burns. Visit for more information about first aid and medical equipment for your business.

3. Provide training for all employees

It is no use having a well-stocked first aid kit if none of your employees know how to respond to a crisis; it is therefore imperative that you provide health and safety training to all of your employees, and ensure that these skills are regularly updated. CPR and first aid training will provide your employees with the skills and confidence needed to immediately respond to a crisis. Develop an evacuation procedure for your place of work and make sure that you practice this at least every six months to ensure that your employees are evacuated safely in the event of a crisis.

3 Things Every Office Needs To Be A Productive And Safe Place

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Office Safety|3 Things Every Office Needs To Be A Productive And Safe PlaceAs the UK’s third lockdown continues, the efforts to vaccinate the population against COVID-19 are ramping up. This means that it is crucial for employers to start looking to the spring where, hopefully, many offices that have been closed for weeks or months will be able to start opening up again.

While the vaccine will do a big part in reducing the threat of COVID-19, there is the need to ensure that social distancing and safety practices continue. In order to be productive employees will need the assurance that their safety is their boss’s top priority.

A Clear Social Distancing Policy

Many people will be heading back to the office following the latest lockdown. It is vital that your employees feel safe in your office to be productive. This means that any office, no matter what type of work is done there will need to ensure they have a clear social distancing policy.

This should include a requirement to wear face coverings when moving about the office, staggered working times to limit the number of people in the office at one time and clear barriers between desks if your office space is open plan.
If your staff do not feel safe and protected at work, it will affect morale and undoubtedly lower productivity and staff retention. It has never been more vital that you prioritise the safety of your staff members.

Professional Cleaning Services

The need for professional cleaning services has never been greater. While every staff member can do their part to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by regular hand washing and cleaning their own workspace, it is vital that you engage the services of a professional cleaning company for deep cleaning.

An expert commercial cleaning company will have the tools and equipment needed to do a deep clean of all areas of your office space. Ideally, you should choose a professional service that is accredited by major UK bodies like SMC Premier. This company is registered with a number of UK institutions such as the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICsc), and their company priority and ethos puts safety first.

An Open Dialogue

These are uncertain times, and your employees will be feeling the strain of the ongoing pandemic. It is essential that you check in regularly with your employees, so they feel heard and kept in the loop on business developments.

You should discuss with your team the steps you are taking to keep them safe and let them know what is expected of them while they’re in the office. It would be best if you also kept them update on business operations to provide reassurance that their jobs are secure.

Your staff may also be struggling with their mental health during these challenging times, so as their employer, you should try to do all you can to help promote mental wellbeing. Engage with open discussions about mental health to remove the stigma and provide signposting to mental health resources they can use if they feel they are struggling.

Four Tips for Creating Your Team’s Rescue Plan

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Rescue Plan|Four Tips for Creating Your Team’s Rescue PlanIf you have been given the ultimate task of creating new or developing existing rescue plans, this article is for you. Whether you’ll be the one supervising the site and rescue plan if it’s required, you’ll need to find some innovative ideas to keep your team safe and happy. Having a coherent and appropriate rescue plan will allow your team to have the utmost confidence in you whilst doing their job.

Rescue plans can truly be the crux between life and death, so it is, therefore your responsibility to ensure your plan is kept up to date with plentiful information. It is also your obligation to formulate the plan alongside the guidelines within your state and remember that you cannot simply rely on emergency services when you’re in a time crunch. Here are four ways you could maximise the efficiency and coherency of your rescue plan with thorough preparation.

Safe Equipment

While creating the rescue plan, you must consider the potential hazards of your site and make sure that all safety equipment is safe and ready for use. Safety equipment should be suitable for the job, and there should be enough for everyone on site. It is crucial to ensure that all employees working on site have full access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), so everyone has the same opportunity at staying safe on the job. Even if the site may not contain potentially hazardous conditions, if you have to create a rescue plan, PPE is definitely required. All workers should be fully visible in all conditions and therefore require some form of high visibility clothing. They should all have correctly fitting hard hats alongside suitable eye, hand and foot protection. All of these points might seem like gospel, but they are essential at all times on site. So, a reminder doesn’t hurt.

Work Tents

As important as PPE, other forms of site protection should include work tents. It’s important to consider the weather conditions on-site when working, but you should also always plan for the unexpected. Work tents are a great form of emergency protection, acting as a quick fix when required. They can shield from a storm and also act as a method of shade for heat relief. If your rescue team have to maintain focus for long periods, bad or even dangerous weather conditions can fuel the initial problem and make it more difficult to conduct the rescue mission in turn. There are plenty of work tents to choose from, including variability in size, shape and colour. Find a provider that offers a wide range of products, so that you can explore a selection, such as Pelsue. The firm has a range of work tents, and you can explore Pelsue’s products here. Work tents have a multi-purpose function which allows you to join tents both together and to cars by having interlocking flaps. Most tents also have a pop-up feature which is useful when in a rush. As you can tell, innovative tents are essential for a rescue plan.

Prepare a Rescue Team

The core feature of your rescue plan should be a rescue team. Make sure each person in the team know exactly what their role is and when their service might be required in a rescue mission. It’s also important to make them aware of where they can access the potential items required to conduct the rescue appropriately and efficiently. Experts suggest that your rescue team should consist of people who can keep calm under pressure and who are confident enough to continue with the rescue mission if required. You should also ensure that there is a competent and approachable person with effective first aid and rescue material experience. This way, that if a rescue mission is required, everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Keep Everyone in the Loop

It is essential that you let the rest of the team observe these rescue drills. A word of warning about the potential hazards before each working day will prevent high stress among the team. Make them aware of potential hazards on site for peace of mind. While giving them this awareness, allow all team members to ask questions so a full brief is conducted. This will help increase their awareness on-site and become familiar with any potential rescue plans. If the team are in the loop and aware of any potential mistakes and mishaps that can occur, each individual is more likely to know what to do if a rescue mission takes place.

Final Word

It is now up to you to create your rescue plan as efficiently as possible. Make sure you have a rescue team and staff who have a constant awareness of potential hazards. Ensure that you brief team leaders and supervisors about your concerns. It may seem like general knowledge, but make sure that your team have good PPE as well as work tents ready for use on-site.

The Importance of Cleanliness in Your Manufacturing Facility

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article |Manufacturing Facility|The Importance of Cleanliness in Your Manufacturing FacilityManufacturing facilities, regardless of what product you’re making, can get extremely dirty. With a variety of nooks and crannies for the dust and dirt to settle in, hard-to-clean equipment and machinery, and chemicals and particles in the air, a broom and dustpan just will not cut it. A clean facility is essential for the health and well-being of employees and the quality of your product. While cleanliness in any business is necessary, it’s even more vital to the manufacturing business, and here are some of the reasons why.

Makes a good impression

Clients often visit your manufacturing facility either for meetings, tours, or just to check on the progress of the production process. Sometimes, they can show up unannounced to do an audit and make sure that everything is up to their standard. A clean facility shows that you are professional and that your products are high-quality. If you have a potential buyer visiting for the first time, you must make a good impression if you want to close a sale. You will need industrial cleaning services that offer specialized cleaning for manufacturing. The cleaners should understand the manufacturing business, and the safety protocols to follow within different types of facility.

Improves efficiency

A dirty manufacturing facility operates less efficiently. When there is stuff lying all over the place, including scrap materials, empty boxes, and unused parts, it can become extremely disorganized. In manufacturing, it’s imperative that staff can find everything they need exactly when they need it. On top of that, throwing unused materials around and not having them in their right place can lead to wastage and losses. On top of that, cleaning dirty equipment takes time and time is money in manufacturing. If you have to stop the production line to clean up, you’re cutting down on production.
Boosts quality control

Regardless of what product your facility is making, if it gets loose particles or dirt in it, you may have to scrap it and waste materials, resources, and time. Orders almost always have deadlines, and you’ll have committed to producing a certain amount by a specific time. If you have multiple products contaminated with debris or dirt, your risk not completing the order in time. A clean facility means the products will always be good quality and ready at the required time.

Reduces workplace injuries

A messy and dirty facility is a recipe for disaster when it comes to employee safety. Suppose empty boxes are laying around, or even slippery floors due to a spillage, then an employee could slip and fall. Slips and falls are more dangerous in manufacturing facilities since employees could be carrying heavy or sharp items. The equipment and chemicals that employees work with also present hazards of their own, but when the facility isn’t clean, these hazards become more prevalent. Sharp materials, such as cut pieces of metal or glass left around as scrap could cause serious injury if not cleaned up.

For all these reasons, hiring an industrial cleaning service will help ensure that your manufacturing facility operates efficiently and safely.

Why You Should Maintain Workers’ Compensation Insurance

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Workers' Compensation Insurance|Why You Should Maintain Workers’ Compensation InsuranceAs an entrepreneur, you are starting your business and have to make tough choices about where to put your money. Rent physical space or go virtual? Do your own books or hire an accountant? Pay for answering service or hire a receptionist?

The answers to these questions will vary depending upon the type of business you are starting, what your skillset is, and how well your project is funded. One thing you should not skimp on if you have employees is purchasing workers’ compensation insurance.

Why? Because if you don’t have workers’ compensation insurance and one of your employees is injured in a workplace accident, or develops a disease or condition as a result of the workplace conditions or duties, you will likely be on the hook for their medical expenses and lost wages. In many states, that is not all… you can be fined by a workers’ compensation judge, or prosecuted for a crime by your state’s Department of Justice.

Read this article for the consequences you can avoid if you just purchase workers’ compensation for the employees of your business.

How Workers Compensation Works

The reason every state has a workers’ compensation statute mandating the purchase of workers’ compensation insurance for most employers is to remove the issue of liability from workplace injuries, provide lost wages and medical expenses for the injured worker, and lift responsibility from the employer.

The public policy concerns resolved by the workers’ compensation statute are preserving the employer-employee relationship, helping workers recover from their injuries and get back to work, and avoiding lengthy, expensive, litigation between employers and their employees over who is at fault for causing the injury.

If a worker is injured, typically, the worker will inform the employer and seek medical attention. Most statutes provide a timeline for this and give the employer and the insurer the right to specify the medical professionals an injured worker must first consult.

Employers are usually required to post notices of workers’ compensation coverage and the procedure for filing a worker’s comp claim in a conspicuous place at work, such as a break room. The worker will complete and submit the required forms, and generally, in as little as a few weeks the worker will receive compensation for the injury in the form of medical expenses and lost wages. If the worker is unable to work for a time, the worker may also receive partial or total temporary or permanent disability compensation.

If an employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance but should, the injured worker can seek recourse in workers’ compensation court and in some states, can sue the employer directly. But that employer’s employees are not the only stakeholders in the employers’ decision not to carry worker’s compensation insurance – the state is.

Because your state has a stake in whether your business has workers’ comp insurance, your state legislators will have specified in the statute what penalties will apply if an employer fails to comply with the mandates of the statute. In many states, failure to comply is a criminal offense and individual owners of a business without workers’ compensation insurance can be fined and jailed.

A Judge May Impose Civil Fines and Penalties for Failing to Comply With Your State’s Workers’ Compensation Statute

Every state’s workers’ compensation statute is a bit different, but most states require employers with at least one employee to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. If a worker is injured and goes to workers’ compensation court, the judge has the authority to not only assess the worker’s medical expenses and lost wages against an uninsured employer but fine that employer in addition, in an amount that will match the egregiousness of the conduct.

In some states, there is an uninsured employer fund that the worker can access to receive compensation more timely, and you as the uninsured employer must repay that amount as well as any fines or penalties provided for your state’s statute.

Employers Without Workers’ Compensation Insurance Can Be Criminally Prosecuted

Failing to purchase and maintain workers’ compensation for employees is a crime in most states. The degree of the crime, the fines and penalties, and the jail sentences imposed upon business owners will vary state-to-state.

For example, in Pennsylvania, failing to maintain workers’ compensation insurance is a third-degree misdemeanor, the punishment being a $2,500.00 fine and up to 1 year in jail. If an employer’s failure to maintain insurance is intentional or willful, that failure is a third-degree felony and the punishment is a $15,000.00 fine and a jail sentence of up to seven years.

Know that in most states, every day the business fails to carry workers’ compensation insurance can be charged as a separate crime. A lengthy amount of time in operation without workers’ comp insurance will certainly enhance the fines, penalties, and jail sentences.
Workers’ compensation insurance protects not only your employees, but you, the business, and other owners of the business if any. Find somewhere else to save money if you need to.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor |Veronica BaxterVeronica Baxter is a legal assistant and blogger living and working in the great city of Philadelphia. She frequently works with Larry Pitt, Esq., a busy workers’ compensation lawyer in Philadelphia.