Not all small business safety policies are going to look the same, but they are all equally important. It is essential that you protect your employees and business itself by having a comprehensive safety policy written up with detailed guidelines and safety measures written that relate to your industry specifically. For example, if you own a dental office, your safety policies are going to be somewhat different than that of a construction company. The safety policy should be detailed, thorough, and handed to every employee in order to encourage these safety practices.
Steps for Writing an Effective Small Business Safety Policy
1) Comply with OSHA Standards
OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is responsible for providing employers and their workers with specific guidelines for health and safety in the workplace. Before you begin writing your safety policy, you should be aware of the guidelines the agency has set forth and use them as a guide for your own written policy. OSHA lists detailed instructions on proper safety precautions in the workplace, which range from using safety exits, to being careful around hazardous materials, and using proper safety equipment such as gloves and goggles. Not only will the OSHA guidelines help you to write your company’s safety policy, but it has mandatory safety procedures that must be followed.
2) Go Through Company Accident Reports
Safety policies are personalized according to your industry’s probably risks, such as the materials you use and equipment your workers have access to. For this reason, reviewing your past accident reports and worker’s compensation claims will give you a good idea of the common risks in your workplace specifically. Consult these accident reports and use them to begin writing your safety policy.
3) Educate Yourself on Safety Training
As the owner of a small business, it is your responsibility to be aware of safety training procedures and pass that knowledge onto your employees. Start by taking the safety training courses yourself, which may be taken online or in-person from a variety of organizations. Once you feel confident of your safety training, schedule training sessions with your employees and repeat the process annually to keep it fresh in their mind. This encourages the importance of safety for all of your employees.
4) Assemble Your Safety Policy
Now that you have all the information and research you need, it’s time to sit down and write the safety policy. An effective small business safety policy will include the probably risks of your business, the guidelines you must follow according to OSHA, and a comprehensive safety manual that lists instructions on what to do in an emergency. For example, if there is an earthquake, flood, fire, explosion, or other natural disaster, employees should be aware of what to do in this situation as it is outlined in the safety manual and policy. In the safety policy should be a map to emergency exits and the location of fire extinguishers along with instructions on how to use them. List any hazardous chemicals used in your business, along with general safety precautions, rules, and regulations.
Remember, it falls on your shoulders to keep employees safe while at work. Every employee has the right to work in a safe and secure environment, which can be provided to them in part by the safety policy. By writing an effective small business safety policy based on your probable risks, your business has a higher chance of avoiding preventable accidents. In conjunction with your written safety policy, business insurance will provide you with protection should an accident or unforeseen event occur.