Safeguarding is part of risk management, but with a specific focus on protecting people from harm. It involves creating policies and procedures to prevent accidents, reduce risks and provide support for employees as well as other members of staff if something goes wrong.
While safeguarding may seem like an HR or compliance issue, it’t an essential part of business risk management that applies to every department and individual employee. A safeguarding policy is a document that clearly outlines the measures your business takes to protect its people, property and information.
It should include details such as the roles and responsibilities of different individuals who need to understand the policy, any third-party partners who might have access to company information or premises, and all employees whether full-time, part-time or contractors.
What is the purpose of a safeguarding policy?
A safeguarding policy should outline what every member of staff needs to understand to reduce the risk of accidents, injuries and ill-health occurring as well as protecting the company’s reputation and assets. It may also outline what customers and visitors to your premises or use of your products and services need to know. Some of the key areas where creating a safeguarding policy will help include:
Reduce risks to your business. Prevent accidents and harm occurring to people, property and brands.
Protect your employees. Provide them with the right support to enable them to do their job and come home safely at the end of the day.
Protect your customers. Ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place to ensure that children and vulnerable people are protected from harm.
Protect your reputation. Reduce the risk of being seen as negligent and make it easy for people to report issues.
Know your legal obligations. Ensure that you are complying with the law and taking all reasonable steps to keep people safe.
Who needs to be involved in creating your Safeguarding Policy?
Although safeguarding is an HR and compliance issue, it’s essential that it is coordinated across the business. This means bringing the people who will be affected by the policy into the discussion around what is needed. The areas of your business where you will need to engage include:
HR. The person responsible for creating and implementing the policy will need to work closely with everyone else involved to make sure the safeguarding policy aligns with existing HR policies.
Senior management. This includes the board of directors and any senior managers who will need to approve the policy.
Facilities management. The people who are responsible for maintenance and the safety of your premises – such as the fire safety officer.
Brand managers. Those responsible for the reputation of your brand, including customer service managers.
Risk and compliance managers. The people who are responsible for making sure your business is compliant with the law.
IT. If you have any IT systems that handle personal data.
Legal. If you are planning on drafting a policy that includes any children or vulnerable people
Before you begin drafting your safeguarding policy, make sure you have all your safeguarding elements in place.
First aid – Ensure that first aid kits are available in all areas where people are working and/or visiting.
Fire safety – Make sure that fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire doors are maintained, tested and that a fire evacuation procedure is in place.
Electrical safety – Make sure electrical systems are safe and follow any industry standards for electrical safety such as regulations for the construction industry and the British Standard for Electrical Installations at Work.
Health and safety – Ensure that you have the right insurance and are complying with health and safety regulations in your industry.
Data security – Make sure all IT systems have the right security and control measures in place.
Child protection – Implement measures such as the Child Protection Policy to ensure that children are protected from harm.
Safeguarding Policies for Staff Protection
Staff safety starts with the right working environment and sufficient training.
Environment – Make sure that your working environment is safe and that you have adequate provisions and facilities such as first aid kits, fire extinguishers, fire doors and a safe environment for working.
Training – Provide the right training to make sure that staff know how to keep themselves and others safe.
Reporting hazards – Make sure that people know how to report hazards and that they can do so confidentially.
Safeguarding Policies for Customer Protection
Customer safety is essential in any industry, but especially when working with children or vulnerable groups.
Child protection – Make sure that any products or services that you provide do not put children at risk.
Customer complaints – Have a clear procedure for managing customer complaints and know who to report significant complaints to.
Authorized representatives – Make sure that you have authorized representatives in place for products or services that have implications for child safety.
Safeguarding Policies for Company Property Protection
Protection against losses and damage to company assets requires vigilance, even though you hope that everything will go smoothly.
Inventory – Make sure that you have procedures in place for recording company assets and taking stock of what you have on hand.
Loss prevention – Have a clear procedure for reporting losses such as theft and fraud, and know who to report incidents to.
Contractors – Make sure that you have the right contracts and policies in place with contractors who have access to your premises, products or confidential information.
Insurance – Make sure that you are adequately insured and that you understand what your insurance covers.
Creating a Safeguarding Plan
A safeguarding plan is a document that outlines the key elements of your safeguarding policy. It’s a good idea to create this as part of the policy creation process, so that you can make sure it aligns with the rest of the policy.
Often companies enlist the help of an outside company that specialises in safeguarding training. This helps to ensure the policy is comprehensive and includes everything needed for the business.
The safeguarding plan should include details such as who has responsibility for what, timelines where applicable, and who needs to be informed of specific actions. – Who is responsible for each element of the policy?
– What needs to happen when? – What needs to be informed? By bringing all these people together as you create your safeguarding policy, you will ensure that you are getting the most out of their perspectives. You will also get buy-in from staff who will be able to contribute to the final document. This will make the policy more effective and easier to implement across the business.
Safeguarding is essential to the success of any business. It is not something you can afford to overlook or put off. If you do, you risk putting your reputation, brand and staff at risk. With the right approach to safeguarding, you can protect your company and its people and assets.
And that means being able to focus on the success of your business. If you want to create a safeguarding policy that meets your needs, it is essential to get the right people involved and to follow a clear process. Make sure that you know what you have to include and have an overview of the process below to get started.