Safety should be one of the most important considerations to any small business owner. If you haven’t committed time and energy into a detailed safety policy and education program at your company, now is the time to start. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), almost 3.1 million of the occupational injuries and illnesses that were not fatal were reported in private industry. No matter what type of business you run or industry youre involved in – your employees are at risk of injury. What’s worse, the Occupational and Safety Administration Arm of BLSreported that in 2010, 4,690 employees were killed on the job. Had these companies had a better training program in place and the employees educated enough to take better precautions, many of these injuries and deaths may have been prevented.
Implement a Workplace Safety Policy and Program
One of the most important steps to making safety a part of your small business work culture is to create a detailed workplace safety policy and procedure. The policy and procedure should include information about common hazards in the workplace, how to avoid them, the importance of cleaning up spills immediately, what to do when an employee is injured, identifying toxins, and other hazards or dangers of your workplace specifically. As per The Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA), your company should have the safety policy written clearly, be well organized so employees can find what they need quickly, and have it posted in a public place. Along with the safety program, it’s important to have a policy that allows you to enforce these rules and make disciplinary action if needed.
Provide Safety Education in the Workplace
Now that you have a safety policy in place, it is time to educate your employees on how to use that policy for making safety a part of your workplace culture. Make it known to your employees how important safety is through safety meetings, videos, and training on the proper use of equipment, and how to properly do their work duties whether it involves lifting, using a stepladder, or other industry-specific tasks. Your company, depending on the industry you work, will have its own risks — and therefore a variety of different safety precautions that your workers should be aware of. Keep them informed on the policies and importance of safety on a regular basis.
Identify and Handle Safety Hazards in the Workplace
The best advice you can offer your employees in regards to limiting the number of injuries on the job is the importance of preventative measures. In order to prevent certain injuries or disasters from occurring, every employee at your company should be able to identify and handle various safety hazards. Safety hazards exist in every industry, and for every type of job no matter how safe it might seem. Learning to identify hazards and informing your supervisor immediately can prevent a potentially dangerous situation.
For example, if you work in an office and notice that a stepladder used to reach files on a high shelf is rickety, tell your supervisor immediately so that it can be replaced; otherwise someone might fall and hurt themselves. During your work day, keep a lookout for other potential hazards and safety risks such as spills near machinery, file boxes left in the hallway, or other types of risks associated with your business. Not only should you notify someone immediately, but you should also know how to handle it, such as closing off an area with a spill so nobody trips and hurts themselves.
Having proper safety policies and educating your employees on incorporating safety into their daily routines is the first step to minimizing and reducing workplace injury, illness, or more severe consequences. By implementing a system that makes safety a part of your small business work culture, every employee in your business will understand the importance of safety.