A guide to health and safety practices for small ‘practical’ businesses
Working in an office environment you can become used to well-rehearsed health and safety being standard practice, with things such as electrical checks, first aid and fire alarm drills being part of the regular month-to-month routine.
However, working in a small independent construction based business such as a plumbing, logistics or DIY company can be incredibly busy. As a result, good health and safety practice can be pushed to the back of management’s minds.
The moment that health and safety isn’t an immediate issue is when accidents happen. It’s a fundamental part of site/warehouse management. It just isn’t simply a safety issue, it can be something that improves your firm’s reputation.
This isn’t just beneficial when looking for potential clients, it can also be a reason for the most talented employees to choose your company as opposed to another when they are looking for work.
Understanding the Problems
One of the main factors that has led us to this widespread lackadaisical attitude is that there is no obvious route to take when implementing your businesses’ health and safety protocol.
However, if you need to understand more about the problems that can arise you can find enlightenment through this article, which will hopefully put you on the right track towards understanding the ins and outs of construction and logistics safety.
Health and Safety at Work Act
This was the first piece of legislation issued in the UK that was completely related to workplace health and safety. It doesn’t mention any specific area of the construction business.
It’s more a guide for business owners. The main stipulation is that all employers must take reasonable steps to protect their workers from workplace accidents.
The main health and safety body for the construction industry is the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). CITB issues a training scheme that educates you on all standard health and safety procedures and what to do in case of accidents and injuries.
They also inform you of all the newest construction legislations and how they will affect your business.
Health and safety is a concern in the plumbing industry, especially on large-scale jobs where dangers such as asbestos, sewage and faulty electrics can rear their heads. The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors are the main body for this aspect of the industry
The association supports both independent and contracted plumbers, as well as heating technicians through its technical helpline and online references. They also offer health and safety courses at a discount to existing members.
Health and Safety in the Logistics Sector
Working in the logistics industry can be incredibly varied. You could be taking care of historical artefacts one minute, wind turbines the next. So you need to understand the different processes for each type of load, how to drive the forklifts, where to stand while someone else is operating the machine.
Thankfully there are quite a few institutions who offer expert guidance in how to manage these situations. The Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) give incredibly detailed advice on everything ranging from mobile phone usage to towing with a Fork Lift Truck.
Futureproofing Your Business
As well as understanding how to operate the machinery you need to know how to maintain all of the equipment. This is legally required of everyone who owns a forklift. Before you can purchase and use a forklift you must pass a thorough examination by the FLTA. This is fairly similar to an MOT in that it declares the equipment safe to use.
As you can see, it is incredibly important to be up to date with all aspects of health and safety if you own a business offering ‘practical’ services. It may be easy to forget to keep up to date but it’s actually not that difficult. Align yourself with a particular body and protect yourself against any potential accidents or legal challenges.
At Fork Truck Direct we are full members of the Fork Lift Truck Association and have met their full standards of safety, efficiency and integrity.