Heading into the end of the year, we’re all taking some time to breathe a collective sigh of relief that the year that wasn’t has finally exited, stage left. But (yep), as far as business owners go, we still have a responsibility to ensure that we’re looking forward to the new year. If you haven’t pulled out your 2022 yearly planner yet, you’re late.
So before shutting off the office lights until January, take a moment to look at your first quarter beyond sales and projections and give a thought to health and safety. Not the most glamorous of topics and as far as running a business goes, probably doesn’t even crack your top 100 list of things you’re dying to do, still, it is important so let’s get cracking.
First, Time for an Audit
Before you head off for the holidays, get your team to audit each of their departments and report back to your respectively. You should have an ongoing incident report log as well as a “near-miss” log (if you don’t, best get to it). What you’re looking for are repeat incidents, or repeat near-misses. Here is where you’re going to find a lot of information that will inform your health and safety plan for the new year.
You don’t have to have a 10,000-page document but you do need to have “a” document. Even if you’re a small business or you are a business, this document should form part of your living business plan and if you have someone responsible for your HR issues, a copy should be kept with them at all times.
If you have staff that are now working from home, while you don’t need to have them run an audit as they would at work, you still need to communicate the importance of a safe environment and how to be vigilant.
If you’re locking up until the new year, remember to check all of your areas for any potential issues, ensure power is turned off where appropriate and update any overdue cleaning of instruments, vents, and ductwork cleaning where necessary.
Update Your Health and Safety Plan for the New Year
Looking ahead, one of the first things you’re going to do in the new year is having your teams in for the first meetings of January. Be sure to add a section on the agenda for your health and safety plans and goals for the first quarter and use this opportunity to reiterate the importance of awareness and reporting.
Keep a keen eye on regulatory compliance requirements and legal matters as they stand currently, and remember to add an updated policy onto your agenda for the new year. Ignorance of the law is not a defense, so make sure that you are well aware of any planned changes and keep that awareness on the planner for when you return in January.
Look, health and safety matters are ongoing and have to be kept current. If you’re planning on starting a business, you’ll have to add these to your list of “must-know” information, but if you’re operating an ongoing concern, there is no excuse for not knowing.
Get it done as soon as possible, so you can close the door on 2021 and rest easy until the new year.
Image Credits: Mier Chen
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