Accidents at work are potentially extremely damaging to your business, but with a few simple steps you can minimise the risk. Accidents at work can lead to personal injury claims, loss of productivity while an injured worker recovers and a reputational risk if the incident became public knowledge.
So how can you protect your employees from potential accidents and your business from the consequences? There are a number of simple measures you can take to help minimise the chances of an accident happening – and the implications in the event that one does.
- It pays to be prepared. You should never assume accidents will not happen.
- Carry out a risk assessment to identify the risks you face and to work out what first-aid provisions you need.
- Talk to your staff about safety issues as their feedback will help make your workplace safer.
- Consider whether your first aid arrangements should cover anyone not employed by you: such as members of the public on your premises.
- Assess whether you are required to appoint a designated first aider – this is more likely if you use machinery or hazardous materials. If not, you will need to nominate an ‘appointed person’. The appointed person’s role is to ensure you have a suitably stocked first aid kit and to call the emergency services in the event of an accident, incident or illness.
- Arrange suitable training for your designated first aider or appointed person and emergency cover in case your designated first-aider or appointed person is away. Appointed persons must not give any first aid assistance for which they are not trained.
- Provide basic first aid equipment – such as sterile plasters and bandages. Use appropriate first-aid signage to indicate where the first-aid box is kept or where your first-aid room is.
- Inform employees about your first aid arrangements. Display health and safety information, provide any necessary training and try to create a better workplace by getting everyone involved.
- Implement a written health and safety policy and record the findings of your risk assessment. By law, all employers with five or more employees must have a written policy. If you have fewer than five employees you may want to have a written policy anyway as it can help you manage your health and safety.
- Act quickly in the event of an incident. Make any dangerous conditions safe if there is an accident or someone is injured or falls ill at work.
- Call the emergency services, if required. Treat minor injuries (if your first aider is suitably trained) and wait for medical help.
- Report any serious injuries, illnesses and incidents to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Incident Contact Centre.
- Keep records of any serious injuries and incidents. This is a legal requirement and the information must include the time, date and brief description of what happened.
- Stay up to date with legislation changes to remain compliant. Don’t forget to review your health and safety policy if you adopt new work practices or take on new people.
If you follow these steps you will help protect your employees and business from potential accidents.