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New business in 2016? Start by locking down health and safety

3 February 2016

The new year is well and truly underway, and it's a time when a lot of people are looking to clean the slate and refresh some or all aspects of their life. There can be few changes made to your life more dramatic, challenging and exciting than starting a new business, but if you've been sitting on an idea for a while, perhaps this year is the time to make the leap.

Whether you're doing it for the first or 101st time, starting a business is going to be full of ups and downs. To be able to enjoy those ups, however, you have to protect yourself against the downs, which is why securing comprehensive business liability insurance should be one of your first stops on the path to business ownership.

With over two million individual organisations, it's inevitable that some accidents will happen.

Dangers for your workforce

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that, in the 12 months to June 2014, the country became home to over 20,000 new businesses, bringing the total tally of Australian business to just over two million. With that many individual organisations, from the smallest one-person operations to gigantic multinational corporations, it's inevitable that some accidents will happen. 

To get an idea of the numbers, Safe Work Australia carries out regular assessments of safety in the nation's businesses, and the resulting costs. In 012-13, the organisation found that 117,815 serious claims had been made following workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities, at a total cost estimated to be almost $62 billion. 

These mammoth numbers are some indication of how damaging workplace accidents can be, and should be a reminder that all business owners need to address any risks to their workers, and themselves.

Minimising risks in the workplace

As the owner of a business, regardless of the size, you are responsible for health and safety. Depending on the nature of your business, your responsibilities could include:

  • Ensuring the safety of premises and equipment
  • Instructing and training any new employees
  • Implementing emergency plans
  • Repairing any potentially dangerous faults in equipment

Making sure your business insurance is adequate enough to cover you financially in the event of any incidents is of great importance for a new business. That said, beginning your operation by ensuring your health and safety duties are being met is equally vital.

Protect your workers, and ultimately your new business, by conducting a diligent audit of your working environment, facilities and processes. It could save you time, money and plenty of inconvenience down the line.

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