If you run a small business, the health and safety of your employees is your responsibility. A safe workplace is not only good sense, it’s also a legal requirement. When employees and customers are on your business property, their safety is your concern. You may not think your humble office or store is a dangerous place, but accidents can happen everywhere.
Naturally, construction sites, factories and warehouses are the most hazardous work environments. But, an accident at work can happen at any time, in any place. When it does, you might find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit. A lawsuit against your small business could cripple your finances and bankrupt the business. Here’s how you avoid this.
Training employees – It all starts with good education. From their very first day, employees should be inducted into the business with training. Teach them the fire drills and safety procedures. If they’re using particularly hazardous equipment or machinery, train them until they’re comfortable. This teaching process should be an ongoing concern. Always seek to improve training in the realm of safety.
Marking and reporting hazards. – It’s really important that you foster an open communication about hazards. Employees should be encouraged to report anything with potential danger. Some businesses offer incentives for hazard reports. If this works for you, great! Encourage an environment where employees are always on the lookout.
Business insurance – Don’t cut corners with your business insurance! We’ve seen so many small companies make this mistake. We understand that money is tight, but good business insurance is essential. This should cover employee and public liability. That means if you do find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit, you’ll be covered. The insurance company will take care of the legal costs.
Provide the right equipment – This applies particularly to hazardous work spaces. The likes of factories and warehouses should be fully kitted out with modern equipment. The tools your workers use to do their job should be the best and safest out there. Don’t let dodgy equipment be the root of safety problems. Even in an office environment, invest in good, safe equipment and reduce the risk of accidents. If your employees need protective clothing, provide it! This could be protective gloves and eye cover in a laboratory situation. It could be suitable clothing in a workshop or factory environment. If your employees need additional safety equipment, make sure they have it.
Communication – Finally, always work to improve the communication between you and your employees. They should feel free to come to you with problems and concerns with regard to safety. Likewise, you should ask them what the business could do better. Make sure they feel safe and comfortable to do their job. Communication is the cornerstone of treating your employees well. We find that employing an operations manager gives structure and a direct contact point for employees.
Meeting health and safety regulations is a legal requirement. Not only that, but you’ll avoid financially dangerous lawsuits against your company. A safe and healthy workplace will also encourage an environment of positivity and productivity. It’s time to start making safety a priority.
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