Challenges Employers Face To Comply With Safety When Starting A Business (And How To Overcome Them)

May 2022

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If you are starting your own business, one of the most important parts of your responsibilities is doing your due diligence to get health and safety protocols right. Firstly, to ensure the safety of your employees and customers. Secondly, to make certain that you are abiding by the law. And finally, for the self-assurance that in the event of a safety incident happening, everyone knows how to manage it in the best way.

Therefore, as the manager of a new business or one that is expanding to new territories, you will have to delve into the often complex and dynamic labyrinth that is safety compliance. You will as well have to keep up with the increasing number of rules and safety regulations, each new year.

Fear not, however, for in this article we shall look at the five most common safety compliance issues that new businesses face and later how to overcome them to help you prevent incidents that could potentially cost your starting business money and months of lost productivity.

5 Safety Compliance Challenges New Employers Face

When Starting Out

As a business manager maneuvering the tangled world of health and safety compliance, it is useful to know of some of the most familiar challenges others in your position have faced before. They include the following:

CHALLENGE #1 - Identifying Risks and Hazards

For new businesses, often, the biggest challenge is being unable to immediately identify all the risks in the workplace. Granted, you will find some risks to remain fixed over time, such as in the handling of equipment. But as the business grows and expands, the changing work environment presents new risks, and existing risks change in nature.

In a sense, then, this means that a business that does not effectively manage to identify risks early enough in its initiation, runs a risk of staying caught in a perpetual loop of playing catch-up to safety protocols, its own and regulatory bodies. Which is costly, time consuming and a dangerous way to operate.

CHALLENGE #2 - Investigating Workplace Incidents

In industries with the highest risk, it is commonplace to find that workers in those fields are usually required to perform repetitive motions. An easy conclusion to make would be that any or all work-related injuries or incidents would have solely been caused by the monotony of tasks.

In most instances, such a conclusion might be the correct assumption. But to make sure a similar incident does not occur again; you would have to paint the full picture of how an incident really happened by conducting a thorough investigation.

However, as new businesses, without prior tracking information of hazards and near-misses along with previous incidents and injuries, safety investigations become difficult since such systems are often still nonexistent at the start.

CHALLENGE #3 - Lack of Knowledge on Safety Laws and Regulations

As a new business owner or safety professional, it might be overwhelming for you to understand all the often-complicated safety laws and regulations, let alone keep up with them. They are constantly changing and evolving to create safer workplaces for people to work in.

The danger, however, is this creates a knowledge gap that may lead to non-compliance whose consequences can be quite fatal for your employees and business.

CHALLENGE #4 - Poor Communication Between Roles

In any organisation, safety is a collective responsibility of all that operate and work within that organisation. However, in new businesses, silos and communication gaps tend to arise between departments and roles when it comes to safety compliance.

Without an effective safety management system in place to streamline communication within an organisation, safety procedures between different departments could clash in approach. Such scenarios are common in new businesses and can have an extremely detrimental impact on not just the health, safety, and environment management operations but also business performance.

CHALLENGE #5 - Lack of Employee Training

Across most major safety regulatory bodies in the world all over, today, you will find that it is a standard requirement for employers to train their employees on existing workplace hazards, at least once annually. Additional training is also required whenever a new hazard is introduced to the workplace or when an operational change occurs and how work is typically executed, for instance with new equipment.

The challenges for new businesses here usually range anywhere from acquiring the services of proficient health and safety personnel as trainers, to documenting and updating training sessions. Adopting and providing for new regulatory changes within the workplace, is another challenging task managers face. For it is on employers to provide their workers with training on personal protective equipment, specific machinery or equipment, their workplace’s emergency action plan, etc.

Having explored some of the most common disruptions new business owners face in safety compliance, we shall now share a few steps on how to bring such situations under control.

5 Simple Steps to Help New Businesses Maintain Safety Compliance

Frequent training is the best way to create a safe work environment (Image Source)

Even with the knowledge of the most common compliance challenges, the real difficulty with safety is in maintaining compliance. However, with these few simple steps, your new business can start to chip away at that ice block. Have a look.

STEP I: Set Rules That Match Regulatory Standards

The first step to making sure your business is on par with workplace safety compliance, is setting clear safety rules and guidelines. One way most companies approach this step is by having an employee handbook that outlines the company’s safety protocols and expectations.

The more ideal approach, however, would be for said safety handbooks to match the regulatory standards your business legally has to meet. By aligning your own safety regulations and standards with those of the regulatory agencies that your organisation must answer to, you will not have to worry about those very agencies finding violations since meeting your own standards and theirs will be the same. While enforcing those rules, of course presents other issues, setting those standards is always a good place to start.

STEP II: Invest in Early and Regular Training

With your rules now in place, the second step is the most important thing that any company can do to improve workplace safety and meet safety compliance; that is, to invest early in training.

A significant amount of both time and money must be devoted to training employees the right way with competent safety professionals. The reason is simple: employees require consistent reinforcement in both the company’s rules and regulatory standards, which are always prone to regular updates and changes. Therefore, the more training you give your workers, the less likely they are to make mistakes and the more likely they will be to function as required when dealing with incidents or meeting compliance regulations.

STEP III: Maintain Safety Records

Good record keeping habits of close calls, self-inspections, safety training, and anything else connected to occupational safety are vital when dealing with safety regulatory agencies. The practice also will in future enable your workforce to easily report and track incidents, access safety policies and documents, handle escalations, conduct audits, etc.

However, adopting a safety management system that can be used on mobile phones and other handheld devices can upgrade the experience of maintaining records to a practice that can be conducted out on-the-go. Whether online or offline employees can update safety records if they are connected to the system.

STEP IV: Investigate All Incidents

Regulatory bodies commonly require reports for all workplace accidents that result in an injury or fatality. And while good record-keeping helps to achieve that specific requirement, reporting in many cases will only go so far in achieving safety compliance.

Even if it is not mandatory, new business owners should make it a common safety practice to thoroughly investigate every close call, near miss and accident, whether they result in an injury or not. The more you investigate safety incidents, the more information you will have at your disposal to help you spot the root causes of previously unseen safety and compliance issues.

STEP V: Get Outside Help with Compliance Issues

And finally, the most viable way to keep up with compliance concerns is to outsource. Getting help from safety management system experts as a third party, will present you with software solutions that can track, monitor, and maintain regulatory compliance in every aspect of your business’ workplace safety.

However, new business owners should be intentional about how they adopt safety software solutions. They should devote time in customising, maintaining, and enforcing that safety management program to achieve optimum effectiveness in preventing future incidents.


Keeping up with current but ever-changing safety regulations can be a daunting task for today’s business owner, let alone one that is just starting out. Between running a profitable business, maintaining client and employee satisfaction, and having to deal with the other numerous day-to-day issues, it comes as no surprise that new business owners often leave workplace safety lacking in efficiency. Nonetheless, when all is said and done, workplace safety should be treated as a priority. Not just for the sake of avoiding penalties from authorities and other direct business costs, but because it saves lives.

If you're starting or buying a business and are keen on learning more about how to invest in and prioritise workplace safety and compliance today, give us a call!

Coyle-Group can help your organisation with the arrangement of all documentation necessary for safety personnel recruitment and provide additional top-class compliance consultancy services.

Contact us today for a free consultation!

Find out how to manage your business' health and safety better


Many employers are concerned about their reporting obligations for COVID-19/Coronavirus/SARS-CoV-2 under RIDDOR in the ongoing pandemic. You may be pleased to know that you do not have to report everything to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). We'll provide more info about when, what, and how to report.

The most common concern we've seen recently from employers is whether they need to report all COVID-19 and coronavirus testing results to the HSE. The short answer is no. According to the HSE: “There is no requirement under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) to report incidents of disease or deaths of members of the public, patients, care home residents or service users from COVID-19. The reporting requirements relating to cases of, or deaths from, COVID-19 under RIDDOR apply only to occupational exposure, that is, as a result of a person's work.”

Generally speaking, the ordinary RIDDOR rules already cover COVID-19. You should only make a report under RIDDOR when one of the following circumstances applies:

• an accident or incident at work has or could have caused the release of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). (Report as Dangerous occurrence)

• a worker is diagnosed with COVID-19 due to occupational exposure. (Report as Disease)

• a worker dies because of occupational coronavirus exposure. (Report as Work-related death due to exposure to a biological agent)

The bottom line is that existing rules cover most COVID-19 measures, and most of the COVID-19 guidance comes from public health authorities rather than the HSE. The environment remains chaotic, but you can minimize your legal exposure by continuing your existing compliance steps. This will include communicating with your insurer about risks, following public health guidance, and communicating regularly with your workers or unions on any of their concerns.

© Gavin Coyle, 2021