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3 key principles for health and safety in any business


They are to:

  • Plan in advance
  • Get good advice
  • Involve your employees


  1. Plan in advance – what, how, who, when and where

If you are starting a business you already have a plan or a vision for what you want to do.  Perhaps you are planning to manufacture a product, deliver a service or meet some other need. In order to achieve what you want to do you will probably need:


A premises of some kind, leased or rented

Relevant equipment

Specific raw materials

Knowledge of the process

Key employees

and hopefully a market for your product or service.

All of this needs to be planned for, carefully bought and chosen in advance.  Within the world of health and safety I strongly advise you to buy the best equipment you can afford, buy from reputable suppliers and ideally buy new. That way you have will have far fewer problems than buying plant or equipment second hand that might look fine but could be a mechanical or electrical deathtrap once installed.

Then you need to look and understand the process fully so that health and safety can be planned into it at every stage i.e. from unloading raw materials, through every step of your process until your finished product goes out the door. You will need to carry out risk assessments of every step to ensure that it is as safe as you can make it.


  1. Get good advice – competent, qualified and reputable

You cannot know or do it all yourself.  You will need qualified others to advise you about:

Premises, the equipment/raw materials, the process, the people and whatever else.

In this regard you may look to experts in the process and to HR specialists to help you hire suitable employees.

You will also need the input of a competent health and safety professional to advise you on the process, the premises, the raw materials, the substances used, the vehicles to be bought and all other aspects of your business so that you start off safely.  You will need to prepare a detailed Safety Statement covering all aspects of the business as this is a legal requirement in Ireland. They may also deliver specific training to your Management Team and employees as needed.

Then as the business develops you may need the health and safety person again to advise your further.


  1. Involve your employees

Tell them what you are trying to do, ask for their input, their expertise and previous experience and combine that with the professional advice you have had, and you are away.

I have had first-hand experience of situations where operators had the solution to a tricky problem that no one else had and in some cases, they were never asked.  The best combination of brain power is when a trained operator/Team Leader puts their head together with a health and safety professional and together they come up with a solution that is safe, workable, practical and acceptable to those who have to use it.

Best of luck with your business.