How to Avoid Workplace Accidents

22/03/2018 13:25 | Start a business

Avoiding workplace accidents in your franchise

When you make a franchise investment, you’ll want to do all you can to protect your new business. But an accident, by definition, is something that is not deliberate - sometimes you can't avoid it.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take all the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of you, your customers and your employees getting injured. In reality, many workplace injuries happen as a result of safety measures not being adhered to.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, there were 679,000 injuries in the workplace in 2016/17. It's a common misconception that the majority of these accidents take place within high-risk industries, but this is far from the case. In fact, 29% of reported injuries were as a result of a slip, trip or fall on the same level, while a further 22% of injuries occurred through lifting and handling.

So, whatever franchise business opportunity to choose to invest in, you need to be sure that you mitigate the risk of your employees becoming injured in the workplace.

Tips on how good franchises can avoid workplace accidents.

As a franchisee, you have a duty under health and safety law to assess risks in the workplace. You should perform risk assessments regularly and rectify any potential dangers to employees. You also have a responsibility to inform your staff about the risks that they're exposed to, how they can protect themselves and how to deal with the risks they face.

Part of your franchise investment should be used to ensure that safety is taken seriously and always front of mind for all of your employees. After all, prevention is better than cure.

Here are some tips on how to avoid accidents occurring in the first place.

1. Write a health and safety policy.

If the franchise business opportunity that you’ve invested in hasn’t provided you with a health and safety policy, then you should create one. Detailing how you’ll manage health and safety in your franchise will send a message to your employees about your commitment to keeping them safe in the workplace.

You’re not obliged to have a documented health and safety policy if you employ less than five members of staff, but it’s good practice to have one. There are templates that you can download to make the process as simple as possible.

2. Keep work areas clean and clear.

This may seem obvious, but there’s a reason that slips, trips and falls are the most common injury sustained in the workplace. Disorderly, messy and dirty spaces make for a hazardous work environment. So, whether you work in a factory or an office; you should encourage your staff to keep their work areas clean and tidy.

Boxes, cables, spillages; whatever the obstacle that is jeopardising the safety of your employees should be moved, tidied or cleaned up to remove the unnecessary risk.

As well as providing staff with a safe environment for working in, you must also provide a healthy one too. This means ensuring that your workplace is sufficiently ventilated, well-lit and has a reasonable working temperature.

3. Make safety everyone's responsibility.

You may be the franchisee, but the onus to keep the workplace safe doesn’t just lie with you. Create a culture of safety. Demonstrate how seriously you take the mitigation of risks in your franchise and encourage your employees to follow your lead.

Good franchises ensure that all employees are sufficiently trained to do their job safely. This includes making adequate franchise investment to teach them how to use associated equipment and follow safety procedures during their work.

4. Provide the correct equipment for the job

For your franchise business opportunity to be a success, you need to look after your greatest asset: your staff. This includes making sure that they all have the right equipment to do their jobs. Safety precautions in the form of harnesses, gloves, helmets and goggles should be used at all times and shortcuts should never be taken.

And injuries don’t just occur in franchises where specific safety equipment needs to be used. Accidents can also take place in the most unlikely of situations. One of the most common reasons for injuries in the workplace is repetitive strain brought on by mundane activities such as typing.

Good franchises regularly offer ergonomic assessments to all employees that sit at a desk for the majority of the working day. By merely changing a chair or adjusting the layout of a desk can make all the difference to an employee’s posture and therefore reducing the chance of injuries occurring.

What should you do if an accident does happen

Unfortunately, despite your best intentions, accidents can and do happen. Here’s what you should do in the event of an employee becoming injured.

1. Keep a well-stocked first aid kit at your place of work.

Having a well-stocked first aid kit that is kept in a place where all employees can access it, enables minor injuries to be dealt with as soon as possible. This can limit the chance of infection and more severe injuries occurring.

2. Report all accidents

Under health and safety law, certain accidents and injuries, no matter how small, must be logged. Information about the incident, including the date, time, the cause of accident and treatment given should be documented. This information will prove invaluable if an injured employee ever seeks to make a compensation claim at some point in the future.

It’s also important that employees get into the habit of reporting ‘near misses’ as well as actual incidents. By logging any potential dangers and bringing it to your attention, you can deal with it and avoid an accident happening at all.

3. Have the right insurance in place

If you have employees, then by law you’ll probably need employers’ liability insurance. There are a few businesses which are exempt, but the majority of franchises will need this insurance.

Employers’ liability insurance offers you protection if an employee is injured or becomes ill as a result of the work they do for you, and then attempt to claim compensation. If the case is taken to court, you’ll need to prove that you took reasonable actions to prevent accidents or harm to your employees. In which case you may not need to pay compensation.

But, if the court decides that you are liable, then the insurance will help you cover any legal costs including the compensation paid to your employee. Insurance may seem like an unnecessary expense when all is going well in your business but is priceless when things go wrong.

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