To assist small start up businesses to manage their cash flow I can offer safety packages on a retainer ie spread over 12 months at no additional cost. With all package deals I also provide a 12 month certificate to comply with The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations section 7 by appointing DGB Health and Safety Ltd as an “external source of competent advice” to assist with their health and safety arrangements.
I recognise that small businesses will need on going support through their first year of operation which is where a retainer service is helpful and could amount to 1 or 2 days per month with a phone call for extra advice. No one wants a folder of information with no support in managing it which is why I work in partnership with the business to help and support them get off the ground.
The general rule under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is that if you have 5 or more employees you must have a written health and safety policy. Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 you must also make an assessment of risk of harm. This is a risk assessment. (Sometimes smaller companies need health and safety documented for e-tender, CHAS registration, safe contractor or other approved contractor lists which I can assist with)
I typical company would need as a starting point:
- A Health and Safety Policy (statement of intent) and roles and responsibilities
- Risk assessment of significant risks
- Method Statements
- A Fire risk assessment
How would I assess what a company needed or what would I advise:
- An opening meeting to establish the company back ground and form a working relationship
- A gap analysis – this audits will assess what a company has in place and what is missing
- A closing meeting to discuss finding
- A record of the findings in a written report with action points to close non-conformance’s
- The report is sent as a draft via email.
- A follow up meeting as agreed by client to discuss
- a) the report – do they agree with the findings, have I misunderstood anything etc.
- b) Any additional support they need to help with compliance
- c) Any other Health and Safety concerns discussed
Are you keeping your employees safe?
In this 12 minute podcast Steve Twynham talks with David Bennion about the importance of having good policies and procedures in place.
David shares his expertise and passion. All with aim of keeping people safe at work.
I was interviewed on Great Yorkshire Radio in York on the 10th August which went live on the Business Hour last weekend – here is the link
Our 7 Questions
1 ) When did you realise you wanted to go into business for yourself?
I had left my employed role which involved health and safety as part of my role. I wanted to carve a career in health and safety as it is my passion. Having professionally trained I struggled to get employed work. One day a friend asked me if I could help him out with some risk assessments and policies reviews. He suggested that I work for myself so I took the plunge and set up my own company.
2 ) Were you confident you would succeed or were you nervous of failing?
As I had never been self-employed I was naturally nervous and to some extend not sure if it would fail or succeed. Running your own business can be very isolating as it is your responsibility to be successful. That said I always like a challenge, it stretches you and helps you to grow. It’s like a sink or swim situation, you have to have a Positive Mental Attitude and use setbacks to learn from and move forward.
3 ) Did you seek advice from your family or friends? Did anyone close to you suggest it was a bad idea to go into business for yourself or did you receive a lot of support?
As in question 1 I did have a friend who having commissioned some work for me to do suggested I go self-employed and start up my own business. I guess he was a catalyst to my career in health and safety consultancy and running my own business. With regards my family this was somewhat mixed, though at the end of the day you have to go with your gut instinct and not look back.
4 ) What was the biggest obstacle you had to face and overcome in order to start your business?
Lack of finance and having to put other experts into the mix who cost, but are necessary in order to run a business and assist you in having a legally compliant operation. There is always the fear of the unknown, that nothing is guaranteed and you have to work very hard at getting it off the ground.
5 ) Do you remember your first customer and can you recall how you felt when you delivered what they were prepared to pay you for?
It is somewhat un nerving, not sure you have delivered what they wanted or the way they wanted the project to look. At the start, you tend to pitch your price low because you are not sure what customers will pay and you want to get more work. The most worrying thing was if the customer would pay for the services you provided on time.
6 ) What would be the ONE thing you would do differently and where do you see your business in five years time?
The one thing I would do differently is have a written contract with terms and conditions as this can help when payments are late and you find yourself having to take legal action for non-payment. There are services which you can be signposted too who can help you if this happens.
Having a plan in place moving forward is important otherwise your business can drift and loss focus. In five years, I plan to have my own offices and employ someone who can deal with the administration, get my business on a solid footing and provide a business which my son can take over when I retire.
7 ) What would be your advice to any startup or to anyone thinking of going into business for themselves?
Being in business can be isolating and scary however having a network of people to support you is key.
Office essential have a network of people who can assist you and signpost you in the right direction, providing the tools to get your business started. They are there to help you and want your business to be successful and their advice is FREE.
Networking events locally are great in getting support and selling your business however be careful as some are expensive and may not necessary suit your business model, though most offer the option of going as a visitor a couple of times before you commit.
If you are thinking of starting a business and currently not working the job centre can offer an enterprise allowance to assist you as a new start up and talk you through the process.
We would like to thank David Bennion for submitting this article for our readers!
07900 431 649