Richmond has a thriving small business scene demonstrated by the fact that over 93% of businesses in the area survive for longer than their first year of trading. But there are a lot of areas for local businesses to look at when planning how they will preserve their reputations as great places to shop, and one of those is health and safety. Not only does sticking to health and safety laws help to ensure that you don’t injure yourself or your colleagues while going about your business, it also means that your customers won’t be at risk when they enter your premises.
And with everyone from restaurants and cafes to beauty salons facing inspections of some variety from time to time, the authorities might also pose a problem if you don’t stick to the rules. This post will reveal what some of the main problems facing a modern small business can be – and how they can be mitigated by taking action.
For corner stores and other small retail outlets, there are several basic health and safety steps to take. Firstly, spillages are of course common in any retail environment. Whether it’s a customer dropping and breaking a container or a leak in the ceiling due to a sudden heavy downpour, there are all sorts of reasons why a liquid could be on the floor causing a slip hazard. By investing in some yellow warning signs making it clear that there is a spillage and by ensuring that all staff members know that they must act promptly to clean up spills, it’s possible to ensure that nobody falls because of a slippery floor.
Another common problem for small stores involves broken windows. With some parts of Richmond reporting almost 10 crimes a month, it’s unfortunately not out of the question that a safety risk could be caused to the public by the result of damage caused by a smash and grab raid. Whether it’s as a result of theft or criminal damage, or is simply an accident, window glass breakages are sadly quite common. By using safety glass, however, it’s possible to reduce the risk of windows breaking and shards of glass posing a danger to your customers or staff.
Salons and beauty parlours
Other types of local business might find themselves facing subtly different problems. Hairdressing salon staff, for example, have to use a lot of electrical equipment during the working day. For any such items used, it’s vital to make sure that an electrical safety check is carried out on them regularly by a qualified electrician.
Beauty parlours and salons should also carry out additional checks to make sure all equipment is clean and tidy. If brushes, waxing equipment or other items which come into contact with the hair or skin of customers are used, it’s essential to have antibacterial cleaner to hand. Its regular use will reduce the risk of infections being transmitted through contact with contaminated equipment.
As is the case in any business, though, this is about more than just following the rules. A beauty salon or a similar business can quickly gain a bad name if it is considered to be unclean and unhygienic, and that sort of reputation can destroy trade. By strictly adhering to health and safety rules, it’s possible to avoid contraventions of health and safety rules and a damaging negative image.
Restaurants and cafes
The catering sector has the strongest health and safety requirements that are there to protect us all. If you run a café or a restaurant you’ll need to comply with a whole host of hygiene and safety rules and will be subject to regular inspections by the local authority.
In terms of basic health and safety, it’s necessary in a commercial kitchen to assess what the main risks are. Knives are a core risk: they are so numerous in a kitchen that they replicate the risk several times over, and they are so easily misused. According to the Health and Safety Executive, there are numerous ways to reduce the risk that knives can cause. They should be kept sharp and not left lying around, and must always be safely stored when not in use. Full training about kitchen safety must be given to staff. Simple tips, such as when carrying a knife to always point it towards the ground, can go a long way toward preventing accidents. Another risk lies in the exposure your employees are likely to have to certain liquids and substances: dermatitis on the hands can arise from using washing up liquids and cleaning products while not wearing gloves.
The other main category of risk posed to customers in food outlets is food poisoning. The most basic piece of anti-food poisoning advice, of course, is to encourage all employees to wash their hands thoroughly after using the toilet before they handle kitchen equipment or raw materials. Signs to that effect should be displayed in staff toilets and around the kitchen area. Handwashing facilities should be maintained by a designated member of staff. In addition, expiration and best before dates should always be monitored and clearly displayed where food is stored, while the correct packaging and storage must always be used to prevent cross contamination between raw food and other items.
There are numerous local businesses in Richmond and many of them have been trading for several years. With many shopping streets up and down Britain benefitting from barber shops, cafes, convenience stores and other enterprises, it’s clear that such local firms are the lifeblood of the economy. If you are the owner of one of these outlets you have a responsibility to ensure that health and safety rules are complied with – no matter how cumbersome they may appear to be. Taking and maintaining the necessary measures can prevent a member of staff or customer being injured, and sticking to the health and safety rules will protect you in the event that litigation follows an accident that does occur on your premises.