The first thing to note is that, unless you are running a purely online eCommerce business, then you need safety infrastructure!
All employers have a legal, moral, and practical responsibility to care for their employee’s well-being, at least to the point of safety when working on the business premises. However, while that is always required, it is certainly something that can vary a great deal, depending on the specifics of the business itself – the premises where employees work, the nature of the work, how many employees there are, and so on.
Indeed, much needs considering. Especially before setting up an effective safety infrastructure for a place of business. It is safe to say that all physical business premises will require some sort of fire safety infrastructure and evacuation plan. It is also likely that a few first-aid kits will be required in most cases. Additionally, that safety signage will be required to some extent. That, however, is where the commonalities end as there are just too many variables to consider.
How to Work Out What You Need – Begin with Fire Safety
So, we have already said that any physical place of business requires some sort of fire safety infrastructure and some sort of capability for first aid response. Therefore, working out what you need begins here. In fact, it is wise to begin with fire safety. Some of the strictest and clearest regulations are in this category.
Your fire safety infrastructure will depend on the fire risk at your business, and that will depend on a handful of factors. Specifically, the size of the building, where the exits are located, and the number of employees working there.
Additionally, any activities at your pace of business that present a particular fire risk – for example, working with ovens, heating equipment, or flammable materials – also need taken into account.
Those extra fire risks might require a bit of further consideration, but for the other factors, there are detailed government fire safety regulations you can defer to. After that, you can conduct – in fact, have to conduct – a fire safety inspection, which is also government mandated.
Following the official regulations is the first step, and the fire safety inspection should let you know if any further factors at your place of business require additional safety installations.
And that is how you sort out your fire safety. As the most regulated form of safety infrastructure for business, it is the best place to start.
Investing in Basic Safety Infrastructure
Of course, it isn’t the only fire that poses a safety threat to businesses. Whether you find you need to buy a defibrillator from this site or a set of wet floor signs for that one will certainly depend on the specifics of your business but, as mentioned, there are also a few general bases that should be covered in every case.
Here follows a few of them, although bear in mind that the extent of the safety risk might require more of an investment or simply more stuff to purchase.
All places of business must mark both specific hazards and specific safety equipment with signage. The most common signage – which you are more than likely to require – is fire safety signage. Exits need marked and every employee need to know what and where the fire safety hazards exist.
Nevertheless, depending on your business, you might require all sorts of other signage too. Cleaning needs completed at all business premises, and this in turn occasionally means wet floors. Accordingly, you can expect to have to invest in wet floor signage too.
All businesses will require some type of first aid provision. A small office with ten employees doing nothing but typing on a computer and making cups of coffee, to take a hypothetical example, will likely only require one or two basic first aid kits.
But let us shift the scene now to a factory or manufacturing plant – or a construction site – where employees are using heavy machinery coming with a whole host of safety hazards. Naturally, you are going to need to make a much bigger investment here. Things like barriers, safety switches, emergency power cut-offs, and first aid provision that goes a bit beyond bandages and paracetamol.
Again, it depends on many factors. But for such special cases as those just mentioned, there are likely to be both industry and government guidelines to defer to. For example, you can find the requirements for construction sites here.
Sometimes, safety can take the form of educating employees on how they can go about their work safely. Additionally, placing restrictions, if necessary, on things like how long an employee engages in a particular task. Plus, this includes necessary breaks and recommended time off.
Naturally, for a simple office, there are unlikely to be any such regulations. But certain jobs absolutely do require restrictions on how employees work. It is often mandated in some high-stress jobs that a day off must be given after a certain amount of working time. Additionally, mandatory rests are often a requirement for long-distance truck drivers and other jobs. Jobs requiring a certain endurance and exhibit safety hazards arising from employee fatigue or tiredness.
Special Mention: Food Safety
The above includes about as much general information for what type of safety required for a business. However, there are a few specific types if work and jobs which come with extra safety requirements. Moreover, these jobs are not at all uncommon – just consider any job that involves the handling of food.
Food safety is a whole other area – again, strictly regulated by official guidelines. It attempts to combat the risk of food contamination. Plus, the endless health issues that can arise from anybody eating contaminated food.
Accordingly, food safety is all about shelf lives, stock rotation, cooking requirements, allergy safety, and decontamination of surfaces and utensils. This is a whole universe of safety unto itself – simply because food jobs are incredibly common.
Special Mention: Hazardous Materials
Another type of work that requires special mention is any that handles hazardous substances. Pharmaceutical or chemical company employees are a clear example here. Others include scientists and researchers and some employees working for cleaning companies. Or those who offer special services such as pest extermination.
There is an internationally accepted system for labeling hazardous substances, and plenty of guidelines to defer to when it comes to handling them. Of course, much also depends on the nature of the work and how employees handle these substances. Consequently, some internal safety rules specific to your business are also important to implement at your place of business.
Special Mention: Healthcare Institutions
A final special mention goes to healthcare institutions, or institutions that serve vulnerable people. These include clinics, retirement homes, or any business that serves mainly the elderly. What you need here depends on the risk. But it typically involves expanded first aid. This makes it possible to respond to the more serious health risks affecting vulnerable people. A retirement home, for example, is much more likely to have a defibrillator than an office building.
For the vast majority of businesses, installing the correct safety infrastructure involves adhering to official guidelines for that type of business. Not only because such guidelines reveal your business’s needs. But also because failing to adhere to them risks falling afoul of the law.
Nevertheless, it is also wise to know a bit about workplace safety yourself. This gives you knowledge of the requirements in order to start your business without endangering employees.