If you run your own business and are contemplating some general maintenance at your premises, then you need to determine the risks to your staff and customers carefully. This is because accidents do happen, even under controlled circumstances – and you could well find that you are on the wrong side of the law after the event.
Start by compiling a list of all the activities that are going to occur by way of general building maintenance. Then, you must identify all significant hazards, and plan appropriate measures to reduce, and even avoid these risks. Your “risk list” will go a long way in supporting the fact that you took due cognisance, and even proposed control measures aimed at reducing risks to an acceptable level.
If you are inexperienced in these matters, rather find a general building company who are well versed in the law, and ask them to include risk management in their costing when they draw up their quote. However, the list of identified problems and proposed solutions should be quite specific, and not too general. This will indicate that you appointed a responsible general building company.
Issue Clear Instructions
Before you accept a general building quote, be sure to record your instructions properly. You can do this by entering a contractual agreement with your preferred builder. General builders will not shy away from fairly-worded contracts – indeed it is in their own interests to have them in place.
Prime Your Staff and Warn Customers Too
Involve your staff from the outset so that they can buy into your vision. Explain in detail precisely what’s going to happen on a specific day and time, and get them to understand and agree to everything willingly. You must have their cooperation.
Similarly, you need to take reasonable measures to warn clients about events unfolding. Everybody likes to see a business prospering. Your regulars will be delighted to know that you are going to a lot of trouble to make their shopping experience safer and more pleasant.
As one of our regular London general builders says “Ensure that your risk assessment is sufficient in the eyes of the law – it needs to accurately reflect any significant hazards that lie ahead and then show that reasonable measures have been taken to avoid them.” Don’t forget the warning signage.