Just like any other business, retail has its health and safety concerns. For many retailers, this, unfortunately, falls right to the bottom of their list of concerns. Some companies pay lip service to the rules, while others try and stick as close by them as they possibly can.
In business, you cannot afford to be negligent with health and safety standards, but yet so many companies allow themselves to be in that very position. When push comes to shove, if there is an accident in your store and you were aware of safety concerns but had failed to act upon it, it could mean hefty fines or even a custodial sentence for the directors should the accident result in death.
Putting your staff and your customers in danger means putting yourself at risk of prosecution. Your team deserves to work somewhere that they can feel safe. And your customers should never enter a shop that is a health and safety hazard with low standards.
Your store needs public liability insurance. In the event of something happening to one of your customers while in your store, you may be liable. In the event of this, you may be required to pay out compensation and medical costs. Read more here about the levels of cover available for your store.
Your store needs to carry out regular risk assessments. You should undertake a full store review assessing potential hazards in every area. This will mean making sure that there are adequate fire escapes, the fire fighting equipment is sufficient, that there are the means of raising the alarm in several easy to reach places, that there is a working alarm bell that goes off in every room.
All of your stock should be stored neatly on shelves. If you have stockroom racking, it should be firmly attached to the ground or the wall. There should be procedures in place for the safe storage of large items. Walkways should be kept clear, fire doors closed, and unobstructed, and you should ensure that your corridors and fire escapes are completely free of stock and rubbish.
The risk assessment will highlight the need for training in certain aspects of health and safety, and if there are any concerns, then you need to address these as soon as possible.
All members of staff should be trained on the fire safety procedures within the store prior to starting any other form of training. They need to walk the escape route so that they become familiar with the path that they need to follow.
All staff should know how to raise the alarm and where they are situated. Your fire alarm should be tested weekly, because if it breaks, then you may not know until it is too late.
There are many areas of health and safety that you need to train your team in proactively. There may be things like manual handling, using knives, climbing stepladders, as well as the use of goods and passenger lifts.