As you plan to start your small business, you can feel overwhelmed with everything you’ll have to set in place. Among these considerations is your responsibility to establish safety practices and safety features within your business. Failing to meet basic safety protocols can leave your business exposed to a higher risk for liability claims from your employees and customers. Fortunately, there are some basic safety practices every business can follow for better protection.
When organizing your business, you should know what positions you’ll need to fill and how many employees you’ll need to fill every position. In analyzing your staffing needs, you should also arrange a training process for each position. In addition to providing training required to perform the expected tasks, training should also include safety practices for that position. There may be some safety practices that will be common to every position in the business, such as requiring everyone to wear skid-resistant shoes. However, there will likely be other safety issues that are specific to a particular position, such as using a safety guard in operating a deli meat slicer. Be sure training is specific to each position in your business.
Your first concern should be to create a safe shopping experience for your customers. Starting with the interior of your brick and mortar business, you should ensure the flooring is kept clear of obstructions, including spills. Look above as well. Be sure there aren’t objects hanging from overhead racks or shelves that could potentially fall onto a customer’s head. As you inspect the exterior of your business, look for cracked or uneven walkways. Exterior lighting and aluminum fences can be installed to protect your customers against vandalism, assault, and other criminal activities. Your parking area should be paved and striped to outline parking spaces, handicapped spots, and fire zones. An exterior that looks attractive and safe will encourage more people to visit your business.
In addition to establishing safety practices, you should also establish what personal protective equipment your employees must wear. There are some PPE that you’re required to supply to your employees, such as earplugs or safety glasses. In other cases, you may be able to require that your employees supply their own personal protective equipment. For instance, you might need to require that your employees wear their own steel toed boots or hard hats. Regardless of whether or not you supply every PPE item needed in your workplace, there should be disciplinary action taken against employees who fail to wear their PPE when it’s required. This will help you ensure compliance.
Your employees will take their cue from you and your management team, making it important to set a good example. If your managers aren’t wearing their PPE or ignore safety rules that you have set in place, employees will assume you don’t take safety very seriously. As a result, you’ll see more infractions that will compromise safety for your employees and customers. When you see a manager violating a safety rule, taking disciplinary action swiftly and openly will send a clear message to everyone you employ. You’ll notice that your employees take safety more seriously when the rules apply to everyone.
You can turn to your employees for suggestions on eliminating safety hazards in your business. As workers on the ground, your employees are in unique positions to identify safety hazards that aren’t as obvious to you or your managers. Additionally, asking for suggestions on improving safety will help your employees feel more involved with your business. This will boost morale and help your employees feel pride in operating a safe and productive workplace. You’ll also see that customer satisfaction is improved through better safety practices and more content employees. You may even find that your employees embrace safety more fully when they can be involved in creating the safety policies for your business.
If you’re not certain that you have made your business reasonably safe for your employees and customers, you can seek insight from several sources. In addition to referring to the OSHA website, there are B2B consulting companies that can evaluate the safety of your business’ operations. Sometimes, getting a third-party’s evaluation can help you identify problems before they lead to an accident.