You may like to think that workplace safety is near the top of your watch list, but in reality, most small businesses are so concerned with managing their business and maintaining profit margins that making sure the building is safe falls far by the wayside.
However, the hustle and bustle of your small, booming business is exactly why you must keep up-to-date on your safety procedures and equipment; with so many bodies moving in and around your workplace every day, an accident could easily develop into a horrific disaster under unsafe circumstances.
Once you establish firm safety rules and regulations, it should be easy to keep your small workplace running smoothly and safely. Yet, while you are still developing the protocol, you should keep these groups’ everyday needs in mind.
Clients and Customers
If customers and clients may visit your place of business, their safety should be your first concern. Customer services begins and ends with your customers’ health and happiness, and if they should incur injury or illness due to your unsafe working environment, you will face more than the loss of their business — you will face reputation-ruining lawsuits that could spell the end of your company.
Customers in retail spaces require much more safety precaution than clients who visit office spaces because they are more prone to mindless wandering and lowered attention. In particular, you should consider:
- Adding additional lighting, especially outside above walkways and parking spaces.
- Making obvious changes in flooring type and elevation, like bright paint on steps.
- Checking continuously for pathway obstacles, including liquid and food spills.
- Maintaining interior and exterior quality and updating as necessary.
State and federal governments have laws stating exactly what provisions must exist to maintain the safety of everyone in and around a business, and to keep your business safe, you should perform routine assessments using safety inspection checklists; EZ Forms simplifies the process of developing and completing such worksheets.
Employees and other on-site workers require generally the same safety measures as do clients and customers. The problem is that employees’ familiarity with their surroundings can foster a lax attitude toward safety that makes a workplace less secure and encourages accident-causing shortcuts.
To combat the onset of a negligent outlook, you can establish firm rules for employee behavior. Working safely should be second nature to all employees, and you can use tests and drills to hammer home your safety points. Then, you should practice the safety precautions yourself to inspire your employees to follow your lead.
You might also consider factoring in policies that will keep employees fit and healthy as well as safe. For example, you can encourage them to eat more nutritious meals and exercise more frequently, or you can invest in micro market vending services to provide healthier eating options. Stronger employees will be less likely to suffer extreme illness or injury on-the-job, so the healthier they are, the healthier your small business is.
Truthfully, the longer your small business stays afloat, the more likely it will be that an accident occurs that requires emergency aid. Even in the safest environments, people can get hurt; however, the level of safety standards in your workplace can determine whether the accident is a mishap or a catastrophe.
The faster and easier emergency responders can get in and out, the better, so you should consider these tips for making your workspace emergency-friendly:
- Keep aisles, walkways, and hallways clear. Of course, you should be doing this anyway for customers and employees.
- Post signs. Emergency responders don’t know the layout of your workplace, so hanging “exit” and “hazardous machinery” signs is helpful.
- Label wires and pipes. Some wires and pipes can be sliced without a second thought, but others may make the situation worse.
Inevitably, you will entertain some visitors to your workplace that do not fall under the previous three categories. Perhaps these guests will be visiting speakers who will entertain and encourage your customers or employees, or perhaps these guests will be employees’ children stopping in for the day to learn about their parents’ work. No matter who these unclassifiable visitors are, you must also foresee any safety problems that they might require.
For example, children who enter the workplace need much more safeguarding than adults. Sharp objects of any kind, including scissors, craft knives, and even pencil sharpeners, should be kept out of reach, and employees should be warned to keep their computers and drawers locked tight. Your small business will be safer if you put time and energy into predicting the best and preparing for the worst.