If the past year has taught employers everywhere anything, it’s that workplace health and safety are of paramount importance. According to experts, workplace hazards and accidents have cost businesses in the United States billions of dollars. One study reveals that companies pay as much $62 billion every year because of injuries in the workplace.
Without workplace safety, a company can lose money because of lawsuits, reduced productivity and finding replacement employees. Larger companies can take this loss of income, but smaller companies can be swept up and shut down because of such loss.
Below are six ways you can effectively improve the safety of your small business.
1. Mind the Floor
People pay too much attention to their workplace’s roofs and other elevated hazards and completely overlook the floor. Trips and falls can be disastrous for workers, whether you run a bakery or a construction equipment site. The injuries caused by bad floors can be harmful not just to employees but also customers.
Cement over any cracks on the floor to avoid tripping. Clearly mark out any floor bunding with high visibility tape or fluorescent paint to avoid turning them into obstructions. Be sure to move cables, pipes and similar extensions out of the way to avoid tripping.
2. Install Alarms
Any business can be the victim of an accidental or intentional fire, and your only saving grace can be a well-placed fire alarm. However, there are an assortment of other sensors and alarms you should invest in to keep your small business safe.
Any alarms you purchase must be tailored to your premises. For example, if your business deals with hazardous waste disposal, you may need more esoteric types of alarms. Carbon monoxide alarms are a necessity for any business that has an active fire, like a bakery or a restaurant. Burglar alarms are always useful, but their placement has to be strategic.
3. Get Inspected Regularly
Your business is only as safe as you make it to be. Unless you have a certification in workplace safety evaluation, you will need to get your premises inspected. Local officials and organizations usually have their own schedules, but you can contact these institutions if you want to get inspected sooner. There are also private organizations and inspectors who can provide the same service, but they generally cost more.
Avoid hiding the true conditions of your premises from inspectors. Their expertise will be crucial in spotting possible hazards. Review their detailed reports with a critical eye and be sure to follow all their recommendations as closely as possible.
4. Have a Trained Medical Professional
Depending on the size of your enterprise, you may find it useful to have a trained medical professional in your staff. Depending on the state your business is located in, you may be required by law to have a nurse or even a doctor on call to see to your company’s medical needs.
If you have a micro business with only a handful of employees, it may be overkill to have a nurse or doctor on staff. Instead, you should at least have one person who takes a seminar or some training as a nurse. They should have enough training to take care of minor injuries.
5. Conduct Drills
Accidents can strike at any time and unless your employees have the proper training, you will find it difficult to remain organized during an emergency. The key to keeping your employees on their toes and ready for anything is to regularly schedule emergency drills. Work with local fire departments and similar organizations and determine the proper procedures during a wide variety of emergencies.
The most common type of drill is a fire drill, but there are also others that may be suited for your area. Knowing what to do during an earthquake or a tornado is as essential as keeping your calm and composure during a fire.
6. Update Policies and Training
Your safety policy needs to be updated often. The nature of healthcare, emergencies and similar concepts can change drastically over time. Be sure to keep your emergencies policies updated. Do your research thoroughly every six months to check if there have been new training and developments to emergency response and similar knowledge that can help improve your safety.
Your small business’s safety and health parameters are crucial in keeping it profitable. Your employees’ safety is directly linked to their productivity and your company’s survival. Be sure to keep these at the forefront of your company policy and you’ll be able to protect your business form unexpected loss.