02-05-11 Do I need A Policy, Training and Expensive products as a Small Business?
I and the team at Quell have been asked the above question on a regular basis.
So what has instigated this level of concern from a number of SME’s?
Recently whilst I was out doing some business errands I checked in with our trainers to ensure that they were happy and dealing with any issues relating to the delivery of the training. When I was leaving this venue I was stopped in the car park by an owner of a small maintenance company who asked if he was at risk of being taken to court if any of his staff were assaulted during work.
It could of been very easy for me to go through all the pro’s and con’s, put a little bit of fear in there and provide a great sales pitch to encourage him to either buy a policy from us, or have us go to him and carry out the training, or have his staff come to us……..but that’s not what we do or how we approach this subject. After all we are also an SME and I as a director also know how tight money can be for a small business, whilst also coping with the strain of ensuring that all the boxes are covered and the paperwork is in order, inclusive of having clearly defined rules and policy’s.
So what did I say?
Well, firstly the discussion went through has any of his staff had any forms of abusive comments or threats? No! Was his answer. Are you 100% certain of this and are your staff being honest? After a pause he assured me that he was confident in his answer. I then quickly went through the questions of: are they lone workers? Does he know when they have finished work and heading home? And finally “IF” any member of staff was assaulted (1% Factor) would he know what to do e.g support, report and assist in any investigation?
His responses were clear and he did admit that he had never thought of this, but it also struck me that this Director did have a genuine responsibility and duty of care to his staff, but with threats of civil action and expensive costs to bring in experts or consultants from health & safety backgrounds it did put him off and also the old phrase of ‘it will never happen to me’ did raise its head once more.
Once he had given me the facts, it was easy to determine that all he needed at this stage was a short, but clearly outlined policy that he could either design himself with guidance from the HSENI (but please do not cut and paste from the various websites which has this information as I have seen this done and it has not stood up to ridicule or investigation when a serious incident has happened), and at the same time this would not create a massive cost to his business, or the need to send his staff away on courses and therefore cost him money on both training and loss of revenue. Alternately, that’s where we come in with not only a policy to suit his business, but help, guidance and the support if things change in the future.
This whole conversation lasted no more than 15 minutes, and the reason I wrote this blog is that by the end of that day he had spoken to 3 other local companies on what we had discussed and I am now arranging to meet with them and discuss the risks that they may face. They also know we are
here to help and not be a block to the subject in workplace violence.
If you are any size of company and need help please speak to us here at Quell. We work within various industries and understand the strains and pressures of costs and changes, however we also know the problems you will face if this subject is ignored.
Want to find out more?