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Health and Safety

Compliance with health and safety legislation isn't normally the first thing on your mind when faced with the stresses of running a business, but failing to give the subject sufficient attention could leave you open to severe penalties, should an accident happen at your workplace.

Here is a checklist detailing some of the steps you can take:

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Visit the Health and Safety Executive website at www.hse.gov.uk, and pay particular attention to the section for businesses.  
Carry out a risk assessment on your business. This will help you protect yourself from claims.  
Record in writing all safety actions which are taken.  
Create a 'safety manual' and then ask all staff to read it. Give them appropriate training and keep written records.  
Ensure your safety policy is complied with by both staff and others (e.g. visitors and subcontractors) on the company's premises or using its equipment.  
Don't forget your office, it must be safe too. The particular risk areas are electrical items, fire safety and hazardous substances.  
Put a paragraph in your contract of employment requiring compliance with the firm's safety policy. If employees refuse to comply, you may have to discipline them.  
Keep up to date. Check out the HSE website periodically for major changes  
You may also need a substance abuse policy in your contract of employment, particularly if you are in an industry involving transport or the use of dangerous machinery.  

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