Let's face facts - it's all too easy to go out and buy liability insurance to make sure your business is covered, however, that doesn't mean that your legal and moral obligations end there. Even a business with insurance cover can still be a liability.
In the simplest sense it refers to something that poses a problem or hindrance. For example, a business could become a liability should its health and safety standards slip - resulting in an accident and potentially a law-suit.
Whether you've just set-up a new business or you've been established for a while - it's important not to let your standards slip. Unfortunately this can be all too easy when running a business - especially when there are so many other things to worry about.
So who and what do you need to consider?
When thinking about the needs of your employees it shouldn't just be about the bear-minimum to ensure their welfare whilst at work. An American psychologist - Abraham Maslow, produced a "hierarchy of needs" that details exactly what a person needs to be happy and safe and motivated, however, for the sake of this article I'm going to focus on the two that are most related to their welfare whilst at work:
The physiological stage - at the very basic level an employee requires food, water, shelter, other personal needs and warmth.
The safety stage - the next stage is down to their safety. Like anyone an employee needs to feel secure and safe.
As part of your duty to your staff you should be looking at what facilities you can provide to meet their physiological demands. This can be as simple as installing a toilet, providing heating, coffee facilities and vending machines. As simple and as basic as these sound, they are still important considerations when thinking about your employees.
However, your employees also need to feel safe whilst at work - hence why health and safety has become increasingly more important over the years. It's not only about reducing accidents in the workplace but it also ensures your staff that you are looking out for their welfare. To find out more about health and safety and how you can protect your staff I recommend reading the importance of health and safety in the workplace.
Without these important aspects in place you could be risking, not only the safety and welfare of your employees but a high-turnover of staff - increasing costs when you need to hire and train new staff.
Discover more about public liability insurance with these guides, videos and graphics:
The welfare of visitors to your place of work, passers-by and the general public who may come in close proximity to your business also needs to be considered.
For the purpose of this article we will focus on visitors to your place of work as many of the welfare areas that apply to your employees should also apply to visitors.
When you have members of the public visiting your first priority should be their health and safety. The last thing you, as a business, want is for something to happen to your visitors as you could be held liable for the incident - resulting in a potential law-suit.
But as with anyone - whether employees or members of the public it's important to assess the risk and put adequate measures in place to ensure that both are safe whilst on site.
We recommend reading our article on risk assessments to help ensure that your business is safe and secure when you have people on-site.