Unintentionally hilarious safety posters!

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Falls remain deadly despite good controls

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What stressed employees are costing your business

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What stressed employees are costing your business


How often do you hear someone say “I’m stressed”?  It’s become quite normal to feel stressed at certain points of our day, with a variety of people and responsibilities vying for our attention.  But what about stress in the workplace, is that normal too?  It often feels that a certain amount of stress at work is expected.  If employees have no deadlines to meet or no challenges to stimulate them, they can become bored and disinterested in their work.  However, it is important to distinguish between a healthy amount of workplace pressure and a debilitating amount.


Workplace stress is widely thought to cost the UK economy around £6.5 billion per year and whatever size your business is, employee stress will have adverse consequences on your productivity.  It can also influence a company’s reputation as an employer.  A business with a constant turnover of staff or bad publicity in terms of the stress staff are subjected to, is not likely to attract the best talent.  As well as the financial cost of paying sick leave and possibly taking on extra staff to cover the workload, there are the long-term effects on the employee’s mental health of prolonged workplace stress.    Also, if an employee’s mental health suffers as a direct result of the pressure that they have been put under at work, they may pursue a claim against their employers for compensation.


Even if an employee is not absent from work, their standard of work can be greatly affected if they are put under too much pressure.  Their behaviour towards their fellow workers might also be affected causing them to carry out bullying behaviour, due to the pressure they are under themselves.  This in turn can lead to other employees becoming stressed and ill due to their conduct and an environment of harassment and bullying might become prevalent within the workplace.


Whilst most companies will realise the importance of a productive, happy workforce, the pressures of creating sales, achieving targets and outperforming competitors can tend to push issues such as employee welfare down the list of priorities.  However, as well as the moral responsibility that a business has towards their employees, ensuring that they do not become ill due to stress, reducing workplace stress can ensure a business can perform more efficiently.  When staff feel that they are valued and measures are put into place to safeguard their wellbeing, they are more likely to perform better and take less sick days.  The consequence of a constant workforce means less recruitment and training, which in turns means a more stable financial position and a happier place to work.


A Tragic Reminder

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A Tragic Reminder


As business owners and employers, we like to think we’re adhering to Health and Safety standards, but how seriously do we really take our duties? As employers we have a responsibility to our employees to keep them safe at work, but this doesn’t have to be costly or complicated.  If your business has more than five employees, you need to have a written Health and Safety Policy, but all businesses should carry out risk assessments too.  The risk assessment process will help you understand the potential hazards within your workplace and what measures you can put in place to control them.


However, Health and Safety isn’t just about protecting your employees.  If you provide a service to the public, you need to protect your customers too.  The recent tragic incident involving Summer Grant and the bouncy castle serves to remind us of how seriously we need to take Health and Safety.  William and Selby Thurston, Fairground Workers in charge of the bouncy castle, failed to provide a safe environment for the children that were using their service.  Consequently, Summer Grant died because the bouncy castle that she was playing in blew away in 35 to 45mph winds.  The bouncy castle was only recommended for use in winds of 24mph or less.  Therefore, the Thurstons were found guilty of Manslaughter by gross negligence and breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act.


This tragic incident highlights the importance of being fully aware of the hazards posed by our business activities and the attitude we adopt towards Health and Safety.  Our staff need to feel safe working within the environment that we create for them.  Whether staff work within an office, a factory or other workplace, their Health and Safety needs to be paramount when we make any decisions.  Our employees must have the necessary information, instruction & training to enable them to carry out their duties in line with the expected safe methods of work.


As emphasised by the bouncy castle incident, if there’s a mismatch between equipment, environment and understanding, it could lead to terrible consequences.  As business owners and employers, we all have a responsibility and we need to have the upmost regard for our employees and customers safety, ensuring that they don’t come to any harm because of something that we did incorrectly or something we failed to do at all.

Don’t have this mindset towards health & safety in your business

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The mindset of the many or the mindset of the masters, your choice.


Don’t make this mistake with your safety documents!

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There are two methods of dealing with health & safety documentation in business. The usual method and the right method. Which one will you choose.


Where to start, when you don’t know where to start!

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If you own or run a business you’re probably swamped with a tsunami of tasks that need doing. The Health & Safety management of your business can sometimes get put on the back burner in this environment.

In this short video, I explain how to use the 80/20 rule to have an impact and get some traction, despite the severe lack of available time.


Don’t let this stuff suck the joy out of building your business

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There are two mindsets towards Health & Safety (in fact all compliance) that I see in business.

One sucks the joy out of starting, building and growing a business. The other enables solid progress and puts all that compliance stuff in its place.

Can you guess which one the most successful businesses have?

Let’s be honest, nobody really likes dealing with the health & safety issues within their business. Why would they? It’s far from the most exciting subject. Of course every business owner aims to meet their obligations regarding the relevant legislation. But enjoy it, look forward to it, no way.

Nobody starts a business and says “Wow, I can’t wait to write a Health & Safety Policy” – In fact I’d worry about them if they did! But how you approach health & safety is important. And not just because the safety issues of your business need resolving, but because your energy and focus towards other business matters are affected if you choose the wrong mindset.

So…..the two mindsets:

The first: Imagine an ostrich sticking its head in the sand. That’s pretty much the first mindset. It comes with the hope that all the hassle, frustration and work of getting the health & safety sorted for a business will just magically take care of itself….or go away if ignored for long enough. As you can probably guess, this mindset does little for progress, compliance or the owners peace of mind. This mindset is common among business owners. The snag with this mindset is that it tends to leech into other areas of business management. This mindset sucks energy, slows progress and is contagious.

The second: Imagine you’re taking up chess. You’d be very keen to understand the rules. You’d rightly assume that, to succeed in chess, you need a thorough grasp of every potential way you could get your ass kicked. This is similar to the second mindset that (less) people take towards health & safety in their business. These people understand that health & safety and all those other pesky compliance issues are just the rules of the game. They accept the UK has a complicated legislation framework. They fully understand these rules are real, whether they like them or not. After all, how successful would one be at chess, after a half assed look at the rule book?

It’s not about whether we personally think business compliance is to strict. It’s about business effectiveness. Which mindset is the most effective in enabling a business to succeed. Which rejects truth, in the hope of an obstacle free future and which accepts reality, for better or worse, and shapes itself to meet that reality. Often, the most successful businesses understand the rules better than the legislators who enforce them. With some early effort, time and shrewd thinking, health & safety can just tick along in the background. An emotion free cog, quietly turning away in your business system.

At the end of the day, health & safety isn’t the thing. Building your business is the thing. Business compliance can sometimes suck the life out of building and growing a business. It takes courage, blind faith and nerves of titanium to start and grow a business. You need your energy and enthusiasm high for the road ahead. Any mindset that helps with that, must be a good thing.