June has many people thinking about blushing brides, spending more time outdoors, and, perhaps, long days soaking up rays on the beach. It’s also national safety awareness month. This means you need to be thinking about small steps you can take to make your business a safer place for yourself, your employees, and your customers. These are a few safety points you might want to focus on for the coming year.
Slips, Trips, and Falls Prevention
Slips, trips, and falls in the workplace are no trivial matter. They count for the vast majority of industrial accidents. According to theOccupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, slips, trips, and falls “are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities.” Fifteen percent of all accidental deaths are the results of slips, trips, and falls as well. So, what can small businesses without big budgets do to prevent slips, trips, and falls and improve overall safety?
These solutions arecritical first steps:
- Remove obstructions from walkways and exits. This includes furniture, bags, briefcases, luggage, and electrical cords. These things need a proper place that doesn’t involve stretching out across walkways.
- Keep floors clean and mop up (and dry) spills as they occur. Slippery floors are particularly hazardous in their own rights and allowing surfaces to remain wet promotes the growth of mold and bacteria.
- Use warning signs to inform employees, patrons, visitors, and guests of slippery floors. Use bright colors and place them near the impacted areas.
- Require employees to wear slip-resistant footwear.
- Check frequently that all carpets lay flat to prevent tripping.
Major disasters over the past several years such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy along with the Brazilian nightclub fire have brought the need for advance planning to light. Preparedness is not merely about having a plan for how your business will recover once the emergency is over. It is also about how you and your employees will respond in the heat of the moment. These are a few key factors you should consider when preparing your business for potential emergencies.
- Develop a plan. You need a plan for fires, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and any other reasonable possibilities for your geographical location.
- Put your plan in writing. Make sure every employee has a copy. Everyone who works for your company needs to know about the appropriate safe location in any emergency. They also need to know what their responsibilities to the business and its guests are too.
- Post signs throughout your business letting people know where to go for specific emergencies. Use bright colors that glow in the dark and reflect light so people will see them even if the lights are out.
- Test fire alarms, emergency radios, and backup lighting frequently so that you know they will work when emergencies occur.
- Conduct disaster and/or emergency drills to test how well your employees know what to do. Schoolchildren do it throughout the year. It makes sense for businesses to do it as well. Proper training, in the event of actual emergencies, helps employees keep cooler heads and will save lives.
- Invest in business insurance. Even the most prepared businesses can suffer the consequences of an unexpected emergency.
It isn’t always necessary to invest huge sums of money into safety to achieve impressive results. Diligent effort and attention to detail will make a world of difference in the safety record of your business. What better time is there than National Safety Awareness Month to start implementing these changes?