The Safety Obligations of Your Startup or Business.

Launching a new business comes with many challenges. So many that you can often overlook the safety obligations you must uphold as an employer. Here are a few of the most concerning.

Special Training and Licenses

Although numerous dangers exist across multiple sectors, a surprising amount doesn’t require special training or licenses. Even more concerning, many don’t necessarily mandate the use of protective gear. For example, welding is extremely dangerous. Yet in most countries and US states, a license isn’t required for the job. However, it is in your best interest to at least verify the quality of someone’s work and their adherence to safe practices. Yet you must ensure all required licenses are held for jobs that require them and provide training if this isn’t the case.

Safety Obligations Includes Criminal Checks

There aren’t many jobs that require you to carry out a criminal background check by law. But that doesn’t mean you cannot do it. On the contrary, there are many reasons you would do this. And some sectors do require you to request a check before employment can begin:

  • Confirm a prospective employee’s identification.
  • Shield vulnerable clients and employees from unsavory individuals.
  • Industry and sector regulatory compliance procedures.

ID fraud is a common problem all over the world. And unauthorized individuals may wish to conceal their identity to hide a criminal past, lack of qualifications, or immigration status. The latter of which is responsible for a sharp rise of 14% in false UK IDs to secure a job.

Personal Protective Equipment

In most cases, you are required to provide PPE if there is an inherent danger to your employees. Common examples include working with toxic chemicals, handling bacteria or biohazards, and working in extreme temperatures. More recently, you will also need to provide PPE for any employees who could possibly come into contact with COVID-19. Not providing the proper protection puts lives at risk. At the very least, you will receive financial penalties for your business. At worst, your business can be shut down altogether should a tragedy happen.

Clear and Enforceable Safety Policies

You cannot be responsible for the actions of your employees. However, you do shoulder some of the burdens if they behave inappropriately or neglectfully. Yet you can minimize the responsibility of your business if you do all you can to ensure your employees are regularly assessed concerning safety policies. Should any employee act irresponsibly to the point of putting others in danger, you must enforce policies with disciplinary action. Additionally, a regular safety supervisor can be a huge help when it comes to raising safety awareness.

Informed Use of Toxic Chemicals

Depending on your business type, you might need to use dangerous chemicals as part of your job. Hair stylists, chemical lab technicians, and even firefighters are exposed to hazardous substances on a regular basis. Yet, with the best PPE and training, exposure can be dangerous, as is outlined in the current firefighter foam lawsuit. Therefore you have a responsibility to shield your employees from high-risk materials for several reasons. First, to prevent anyone being injured to the point of ill health and career loss. But also to shield your company from lawsuits.

Summary

It always pays to stay aware of safety obligations at your business. Some of these include trained use of toxic chemicals, criminal background checks, and enforcing safety policies.

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