Small Business Workplace Safety Tips – Small business owners have a lot to worry about and one of those things is maintaining a safe work environment for their workers. Workplace accidents can mean millions of dollars in liability for companies, including small businesses, where negligence is found. Like anything else, workplace safety initiatives can be a cost for small businesses, but that is no excuse to skimp because accidents can be even costlier in the long run. Below are nine small business workplace safety tips for improving your workplace safety score:
- CREATE A SAFETY PLAN FOR YOUR BUSINESS AND EMPLOYEES
One of the first things you need to do is create a safety plan for your business. The type of plan and the measures taken must align with the type of business you have. For example, a construction company’s safety plan will be different from a hotelier. It might be helpful to get a team of at least two to three people to work on this plan so that the plan incorporates multiple perspectives. Use plain language in your plan so that the employees will understand it without needing to have it interpreted by others. Include images and signs, if possible.
- DISPLAY THE RULES AND ENFORCE THE RULES
No point in having the best plan in the world if people don’t see it and if they do not know what it is. Be sure to display your company’s safety plan in high traffic areas, including in the restroom, lunchroom and reception area. It is also necessary to enforce the rules. So, if one of the rules is that everyone needs to wear a mask in the premises, or a hairnet, or safety glasses, each time someone is spotted breaking the rules, they should be disciplined.
- PROVIDE INCENTIVES FOR FOLLOWING SAFETY RULES
It does not hurt to offer incentives for following the rules. Incentives could include a certificate, a free lunch, a paid day off or just a shout out in the office for employees who consistently follow the rules and who help to enforce the rules.
- ADOPT A PREVENTION-IS-BETTER-THAN-CURE MENTALITY
The way to prevent workplace accidents is to properly train employees about safety and thus prevent problems in the first place. Better be safe than sorry when implementing a safety plan for your business. It is so much better to prevent mishaps than to deal with serious injuries that could have been prevented with a modicum of care. Employees should understand that the safety plans are for their own good and that of others in the company and that there will be zero tolerance for rule breakers. Employees should be discouraged from breaking the rules for fear of serious consequences, up to and including termination. If the employees know that the company is serious about safety and that one of the consequences could be a loss of their job, they are more likely to follow the rules.
- MAKE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS FOR EMPLOYEES WITH DISABILITIES
Employees with disabilities are a particularly sensitive population when it comes to workplace safety. They are probably more likely than other employees to have accidents on the job if even just one small thing goes awry; and the liability issues are compounded, by a lot, for employers who are even just a little bit in breach of proper protocols. Employers are legally required to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. But beyond the legal requirements, from a human perspective it is imperative that the workplace is kept safe for people with disabilities –especially those with mobility issues.
- KEEP THINGS HYGIENIC IN SHARED AREAS
Hygiene at the workplace is one of the key considerations for workplace safety especially in food service companies, but others as well. Restrooms are a breeding ground for germs, obviously, but other areas are concerned as well. Hire a cleaning crew if it is within the budget and encourage personal accountability from each employee for shared spaces, and for their work spaces as well.
- ENCOURAGE A “SEE SOMETHING SAY SOMETHING” MINDSET
Create a culture where as soon as an employee notices that something is off, they report it to management to get it resolved. Put in place a reporting policy as well so that employees know who to go to with specific safety issues. Incentivize whistle-blowers to feel safe to report things anonymously.
- GIVE YOUR EMPLOYEES THE RIGHT TOOLS
Provide your employees with the right tools for the job. Don’t cut corners to cut costs because if something goes wrong, you will pay more at the back end. Buy the best quality that you can afford for the budget. Do regular maintenance of your tools and replace those that should be replaced.
- DO SAFETY CHECKS OF EQUIPMENT REGULARLY
If your business requires your employees to use equipment, you can just consider that your potential liability for workplace safety breaches just increased tenfold. It goes without saying that you will have to do regular safety checks of your equipment to reduce potential liability.
Conclusion (Small Business Workplace Safety Tips): Workplace accidents will happen no matter how careful you are but there is no excuse for outright negligence. Even if workplace safety initiatives can cost a pretty penny, make the necessary investments. Do not skimp because accidents can be even costlier in the long run, as noted above.