Your first step in assessing what health and safety equipment you need is to consider what sort of business you are. Most businesses should fall comfortably into one of two categories:
- Low risk: Shops, offices, libraries, retail centres etc.
- High risk: Construction companies, handling chemicals, dangerous machinery, sharp instruments etc.
Once you have identified which of these categories you fall into, you will find it easier to start planning what you need.
If you class yourself as a high-risk business, it can be a good idea to engage with a health and safety professional or consultant to assist you with staying compliant and protecting your workers. Low risk businesses can almost always manage health and safety themselves, only requiring a small amount of investment in equipment and tools.
The risk assessment
Choosing the type of equipment you need will be informed by the risks that are presented during the course of a normal day’s work. The easiest way to get this done is by conducting a site wide risk assessment, designed to highlight where and what the potential risks are. It doesn’t need to be an in depth or time-consuming activity, but it does need to be done regularly and thoroughly if you want to be confident that you’re doing enough to protect your workforce.
Start your risk assessment by:
- Doing a walk-around of your business, and writing down all the things that could potentially harm people.
- With each thing you identify, write down who could be harmed and in what way.
- Think about what can be done to minimise each of the risks you’ve identified
- Think about how you are going to handle the danger presented by those hazards you cannot eliminate or control
- Writing down what you discovered, so that you can review it next year and see if anything has changed.
Most businesses will require some or all of the following items:
- Fire extinguishers: Whether you only need a couple of basic water based extinguishers or several different types of equipment to manage your risks, fire extinguishers are a crucial piece of kit. Any business can be a fire risk, whether you’re a shop, office, school or otherwise, so don’t overlook this in your plan.
- First aid equipment: Whether your needs can be met with a simple first aid kit, or whether you need to equip a full sick bay for your business, is something you’ll need to decide. You must have first aid supplies readily to hand on your premises, but what is contained in the kits, and how many kits you need, will come out of your assessment of your needs.
- Health and safety literature: Aside from the mandatory display of the Health and Safety Law poster, you may also wish to display other information about health and safety around your premises. From first aid tips to guidance on lifting safely, these types of items can be highly beneficial to your employees as a quick reference guide.
- PPE equipment: If you work in a place where people are at risk of damage to their eyes, toes, skin, hair, hands or other body parts, you will almost certainly need to invest in PPE workwear and equipment for their use. Personal Protective Equipment covers everything from steel toe capped boots through to hard hats and reflective jackets.
- Hygiene equipment: One of the best ways to maintain good health is to maintain excellent hygiene, so you should look to invest in ways to keep your workspace clean and germ free. Gloves, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes can make all the difference to the hygiene of your business, as can having the right cleaning equipment for your premises.
Our health and safety equipment is designed for use in various commercial spaces and working environments. If you need help choosing the right equipment for your workplace, speak to one of our advisers for further purchasing information.