Avoiding Lawsuits as an Employer
If you own your own small business, chances are that you’ve heard the term “compensation culture” thrown around quite a bit. But what actually is it and why is it significant to you as a business owner? Well, “compensation culture” is a phrase used to refer to the popular mindset that an individual is automatically entitled to receive compensation (or some sort of financial payout) in almost any situation, regardless of where the blame for an incident may actually lie. This has come to apply to the workplace, as increasing numbers of employees are coming forward with court cases, requesting compensation for accidents or injuries that they have experienced within their place of employment. Now, some people do tend to exaggerate the negative effects that certain workplace incidents have had on their health and wellbeing. But at the end of the day, as soon as you decide to take on a workforce of your own, you become almost entirely responsible for the health and wellbeing as long as they are in the workplace. So, you need to ensure that everything is in ship shape. Not only will this ensure that your workforce is as safe as possible at all times, but it will also help you to avoid any undesirable lawsuits and court cases that may head your way if you do neglect your responsibilities. So, here’s everything you need to know to get started on the right foot!
Get to Know Employment Law
Employment law is an extremely complex area. People take entire degree courses on the subject, studying solely on this area for up to three years in order to completely understand the area. However, we are well aware that sometimes we find ourselves needing to take on staff before we have got our heads completely around the subject. Putting off the employment of staff can be detrimental to the progress of your small business, but taking them on without knowing all there is to know about being a good and fair employer could prove detrimental to their happiness and wellbeing. It seems like a bit of a catch 22 situation. But not to worry. There are ways around this. Perhaps the best approach is to still take on the staff you need as and when necessary, but to employ the help of Peninsula’s Employment law resources to help you along the way. These will help you to get to grips with the basics. They can also provide you with an outsourced, off-site hr department who can handle any individual problems or requests, helping you to manage your staff effectively at the same time as allowing you to continue running your company. Perfect!
Train Your Employees
A large proportion of workplace accidents come about when employees haven’t been properly and effectively trained in workplace safety. So, if you train all employees before they start their roles, you should significantly decrease the chances of accidents occuring. Training programmes can include information about identifying potential hazards and combating them (for example, ensuring that employees know to bring out wet floor signs when a spill is identified). They should also ensure that all staff are fire safety trained in case of emergencies (knowing where exits and meeting points are as well as knowing when and how to use which fire extinguishers). You should also train your employees in basic skills such as lifting and moving objects from the stockroom to the store front.
Use Safety Signage
Chances are that you have simply rented a commercial property for your business to operate from. This means that it hasn’t been built to your business’ specific needs. Chances are that there might be a few features in the building that pose potential hazards and may not be easily or cheaply rectified. This is okay (within reason), but you do need to ensure that all potential hazards are clearly labelled. If there’s a sudden small drop or step that people may not pay attention to, you need to fit a “mind the step” sign nearby at eye level – after all, not everyone walks around looking at the floor. If the ceiling drops a little low in a certain part of the workplace, you should install a “mind your head” or “low ceiling” sign. Little signs like these can help people to avoid all sorts of accidents that could prove dangerous or cause injury. There are also other sorts of safety signage that you should always invest in. One example is fire exit signs. While every workplace should have these, you should invest a little extra for versions that glow in the dark. These will prove particularly useful if there is some sort of power cut or power outage and will help to guide people to safety even in these extreme circumstances. Other signs could include temporary signs, such as wet floor signs, which should be brought out as soon as a spill is identified and remain up until the wet floor is completely dry.
Install Security Cameras
If you completely cover all areas of health and safety you should be fine. But there’s always a chance that immoral individuals may attempt to fake accidents or incidents in order to create a claim. While this is rare, you do want to ensure that you have evidence to back your corner if you have done everything within your means to ensure a safe environment. It’s always a good idea to install security cameras throughout the workplace. This will help you to identify the genuine roots and causes of any problems that do occur.
While there are occasionally morally questionable individuals who will attempt to make a claim against you regardless of whether you are at fault or not, the majority of the time, workplace accident lawsuits come about because the employer has neglected their responsibilities and position of authority. So, make sure that you don’t fall into this category! Do everything in your power to ensure that your workplace is a safe and healthy environment for your employees, and everything should be fine!
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