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It’s hard enough running a small business….but it’s worse when you are doing something that you think will work, when it doesn’t. Think advertising that doesn’t make your phone ring, think an accountant who doesn’t help you save on tax, think a client who you do great work for then doesn’t pay the bills.

The #1 trap I see small business owners fall into when they are genuinely trying to sort out health and safety….is THIS – reams and folders and gigabytes of health and safety paperwork!

Business owners often invest lots of money, or lots of their own time, in creating paperwork which is supposed to help make your business safe and healthy and to keep you out of trouble, to help you sleep better at night. The dodgy thing is that most consultants and most inspectors don’t tell you about the TRAP when it comes to paperwork…..

The TRAP in creating lots of health and safety paperwork is that:
– it’s out of date as soon as you write it
– it’s almost always an imaginary way of working that doesn’t reflect the way you actually get work done
– it often doesn’t get written by the experts doing the work, which is your employees
– it rarely get’s used or referred to by the people doing work, for the above reasons

And if something goes wrong….you are caught in that trap. Not only can it land you in deep trouble with a safework inspector….it didn’t actually help to prevent one of your people getting hurt. Now that’s a real shame, which I unfortunately see all the time.

The trap is that when you start working on health and safety by starting with the paperwork, you are starting in the wrong place. Any sort of paperwork that you create needs to be the result of you doing just a few critical things to make sure you aren’t setting a trap for yourself – that your approach to health and safety actually protects your people and keeps you out of hot water.

So what can you do? Ask yourself these questions about each bit of health and safety paperwork you have:
– is it up to date?
– does it reflect reality?
– was it written by the people actually doing the work?
– is it used by the people doing the work?

If you answer NO to any of these questions….it’s time to either Update it, Or Delete it.

Have you started in the wrong place, with the paperwork? How did you answer Andrew’s questions? What are you going to Update or Delete?