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If you’ve recently opened a new retail business, you’ll be well aware of how much work is required to get everything operational. Stacking shelves, decorating, and hiring and training new staff members can all take a significant amount of time. On top of this, there are a number of health and safety considerations you need to think about to ensure that not only you and your team are safe, but so are your customers as well. To help you out during this process, we’ve listed some essential steps in ensuring your compliance with good health and safety practices.
If you have more than four employees, you must create a risk assessment document or checklist which you and your team can use to identify potentially harmful things on the premises and take steps to avoid and remedy them. You’ll want to identify every potential hazard you can from trip and slip risks, sharp objects, falling objects, contact with harmful chemicals, and even violence from customers and members of the public. This can take a significant amount of time, but it can really help you to handle certain unexpected situations. This risk assessment should include a section on what controls you already have in place as well as what the next steps should be if the issue is to develop further.
Another very important aspect of ensuring the safety of your retail establishment is to check the electrical systems often. For a retail space, you’re going to need to have a trained electrician test your wiring and electrical fixtures. Trade Facilities Services can provide you with this service, as well as an Electrical Installation Condition Report to show that your retail property’s electrics are as safe as possible for you, your team, and your customers. You are legally required to get a new EICR at least once every five years.
Training Your Team
Using your risk assessment documents, you can train your team to avoid the risks that you’ve identified. This training can also help your team to protect others from certain risks such as wet floors and other trip hazards. Putting down wet floor signs while someone else collects a mop to clean up the water will allow that member of staff to keep others out of harm’s way, for example. As a more extreme example, if an armed individual is robbing your shop, your team should be trained not to resist and comply with that individual to reduce the risk of anyone being hurt. They can also be taught how to calm down a situation where a customer is getting angry and aggressive, including the usage of a well-placed panic button.
Manual Handling Safety
One of the biggest health risks when running a shop is the manual handling of goods and stock. This tends to be related to heavy boxes and staff being unsure of how to carry these items. Without the proper training, your team is at risk of hurting themselves by trying to lift something too heavy or injuring themselves whilst carrying these items, such as falling and tripping or even hurting someone else. Suppose your team is dealing with a lot of restocking and warehouse work. In that case, it’s worth going over some essential manual handling training with everyone to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders or back pain. You can run this training using a professional trainer or on your own using relevant training materials.
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