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As part of a campaign looking at the workplace of the future, Emma Gilroy discusses how businesses can keep their employees safe by staying on top of health & safety procedures.  

With mounting pressure on your daily routine, it’s easy to forget about basic health and safety procedures. If you provide care, for example, your main focus is on protecting vulnerable patients, and if you run a small business, you’ll be spending every waking hour ensuring your enterprise is running well and thriving.

However busy you are, failing to stay on top of health and safety procedures is a massive mistake. As your workload clashes with ever-changing policies, it can be hard to keep up with the shifting landscape of health and safety and to abide by the most up-to-date guidelines.

It’s easy to feel as if you’re playing catch up when it comes to these changes, but if we look ahead to pre-empt these reforms, we can fine tune our own processes to ensure that those in our care – whether that’s your staff or the wider public – are safe in their surroundings.

Risk-assessment mindset

Every organisation is different, so why wait for one-size-fits-all policies to tell you how to operate? Open your eyes to the potential hazards around you to create your own efficient routine. Of course, you should still be following the H&S guidelines, but could you go one step further to reduce the risk your staff face? Never settle for the bare minimum.

You need to develop a risk assessment mindset that allows you to anticipate and implement  changes that need to be made in the working environment well in advance.

Social changes

Increased globalisation has heightened the risk of viruses entering different countries, and businesses need to prepare for this. We’ve seen this with the devastating Ebola crisis and on smaller scales with people being treated for viruses they have picked up abroad, but still have in their system once landing back home.

Maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness will minimise the risk of germs spreading throughout your workplace.

Consider outsourcing

Health and safety is the responsibility of everyone, but sometimes you just don’t have time to delegate certain tasks around your team. In larger hospitals it may be more cost effective and efficient to outsource certain tasks. This is certainly going to be a trend in the next few years, particularly in smaller organisations.

By working with specialist organisations that offer services such as waste management or cleaning, you can be sure that the highest hygiene standards are being maintained. This will obviously cost you money, but it will also take a serious amount of weight off your shoulders.

There will also be jobs that your regular cleaning staff may not be trained to do, such as removing offensive waste safely. In this instance, finding a third party company to provide this service is vital.

We can’t always tell which way the industry will turn, but it’s important that we make an effort to self-evaluate and act proactively to ensure we’re always complying with the nation’s health and safety laws.

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