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Health and safety during peak periods

Health and safety guidance is essential in business, but it’s especially important during a peak period. Whether you’re a retailer or in the service industry and have more customers to handle, or a factory or manufacturer and have a higher number of products to produce, you should ensure your company can still operate safely at the busiest times of the year.

From additional hazards that can occur during a busy season, to keeping your staff and customers safe, this blog shows what you should consider to effectively apply health and safety to your business during peak periods.

Health and safety during peak periods

Additional hazards during a peak season

During a peak period or season, your business is still susceptible to typical daily hazards, such as slippery floors, overloaded plug sockets and items falling off shelves. However, additional hazards may also develop as a result of staff having more work to handle than usual and/or more customers visiting your business than you’re used to. Such hazards could include:

  • Overcrowding in a small shop
  • Overworked and tired staff not being fully alert and focused while working
  • Shop floors quickly becoming wet and slippery because of more customers walking over them
  • Overused equipment or machinery malfunctioning
  • Items toppling over in overloaded stockrooms
  • Staff rushing through daily tasks and cutting corners

Keeping your staff and customers safe through busy times

As part of your business’s health and safety procedures, you should have conducted a full risk assessment and put a health and safety policy in place. However, during a peak season it’s wise to review this to make sure it’s up to date, while taking into consideration additional hazards you might have not previously thought about. You can learn more about what to consider when reviewing a risk assessment in our blog, How to review a risk assessment.

In a busy and fast-paced environment, the risk of an accident happening can be higher. You should make sure you have adequate business insurance to cover you should an incident take place. This includes public liability insurance ­if a customer suffer an injury, and a sufficient level of employers’ liability insurance – a legal requirement for most businesses – should your staff have an accident. You can find out more about these types of cover and others in our blog, What sort of business insurance do I need?

There are other things you should also consider doing, which are specific to your staff and customers:

Staff

You should make more time to carry out inspections around your company premises each day. It’s also wise to increase safety checks on equipment and machinery that staff use the most. You should also make sure your accident book is up to date and you have appointed a first aid person from your team, who is fully trained, qualified and prepared.

It’s also a good idea to retrain staff in the run up to a peak period to ensure they do certain tasks properly, without rushing or cutting corners, such as  when lifting, carrying and shelving stock. You should also remind employees of the importance of not just following your health and safety procedures, but looking after themselves too. This includes getting plenty of rest before a long and busy shift, eating well, and remembering to take breaks.

Customers

You should make sure your business can cater for higher numbers of customers than usual, especially if you’re a small retailer or public-facing service like a salon or cafe. To prevent overcrowding, it’s worth limiting numbers who enter your premises. You could do this by providing a queuing system outside, or by creating a one-way system that customers should follow when walking around and exiting the premises.

It is also important to frequently check all areas and facilities that customers use are safe or in good working order. This could include ensuring floors are clear, lighting is sufficient, shelves are stable and doors can open and close safely. It’s also worth checking that signage still stands out and can be seen in a busy environment, such as to mark out areas permitted for staff only. It’s wise to encourage staff to keep an eye on things to help ensure customer safety, in addition to doing their daily jobs.

Ensuring your business has effective health and safety  

While accidents do happen, you should make sure your business has effective health and safety procedures in place to keep both your staff and customers safe, even at the busiest of times.

With our expert health and safety service, we can provide you with help and support to keep your company safe and give you peace of mind. This can allow you to focus on what you do best – running your business. The service include access to:

  • Health and safety advice from experts with our Legal Advice helpline
  • Helpful fact sheets and documents, including for accident reporting and carrying out risk assessments
  • A suite of online training modules for you and your staff

If you’d like to find out more about our health and safety service and how it can help your business, please take a look at our FSB Health and Safety Advice web page. The service is included as standard with our Business Essentials package. Please visit our package comparison page or speak to a member of our team to find out about the benefits of this and our other packages.  

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