Why Your Small Business Needs a Health and Safety Policy

October 25, 2011

Workplace health and safetyby Justine Parsons

Most small business employers cannot afford the full-time services of the occupational health and safety specialists employed by some of the larger companies. Yet workplace hazards are just as common in small businesses as they are in large companies.

A virtual assistant is a small business, often with a staff of one.
1.    Do we need a Health and Safety Policy?  Yes.
2.    Does your small business need a Health and Safety Policy?  Yes.
3.    If you pay an ACC Levy, isn’t a policy covering your Health and Safety Procedure best practice?  Yes

Small-scale employers value their employees. The size of the workplace often means that owners work alongside workers. As a result, people in small businesses share a concern for one another’s well-being.

For a small business, workplace injuries are not only distressing, they can be costly. There can be increased costs in repair, losses in productivity, and increased workers’ compensation payments.

Why have a Health & Safety Program?
Workplace injuries and illness can be prevented. The key to prevention is to develop a health and safety program. A health and safety program does not involve large costs and in smaller businesses, it usually does not require additional employees. It can be integrated into your entire business operation and reflected in all of your work.

A health and safety program makes good business sense. With a good health and safety program in place, small business owners can focus their efforts on making their business grow.

Useful link: Improving workplace safety and health for small business

The following is a list of the sections and appendix recommended for inclusion in a workplace health and safety manual, policy or procedures.  If you don’t have the time to document and put some procedures in place, contact Your Virtual Assistant and together we will make your workplace a safe place.

  1. Employer commitment and policy
  2. Hazard management policy and procedures
  3. Occupational overuse syndrome prevention policy
  4. Smoke-free working environment policy
  5. Stress at work policy and procedures
  6. Manual handling procedures
  7. Accident management procedures
  8. Rehabilitation policy
  9. Emergency management
  10. First aid procedures
  11. Employee information, training and supervision
  12. Workmen on site (contractors) and visitors
  13. Appendix 1: Checklist for yearly manual review
  14. Appendix 2: Checklist for ACC Safe Workplace Preparation Audit
  15. Appendix 3: Sample workstation assessment checklist
  16. Appendix 4: Incident and accident reporting form/register
  17. Appendix 5: First aid register
  18. Appendix 6: Hazard register
  19. Appendix 7: Hazard notification form

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