When you’re just starting your own business, you might be focused on more exciting things than safety. However, you don’t want to work in an unsafe environment and put your and your workers’ life and well-being at risk. Sure, there’s no way to prevent every accident, but you can always try to minimize the chances of any work disasters. If you’re running a small business or a startup, here are some safety tips you have to keep in mind:
Teach everyone the rules
Every place, no matter the industry, needs to have safety guidelines clearly marked. Ensure your workers know what’s allowed and what’s prohibited when operating equipment, technology, and machines. Misuse of any equipment can result in an injury, so it should only be used according to the manual. For instance, if the ladder manual calls for certain safety steps, don’t skip them. Skipping these rules can hurt people and cost your company many lawsuits.
Provide proper training
Improper use of equipment like machinery, appliances, and power tools can cause personal injury and property damage, both of which you don’t want. But, if you keep your employees educated on key procedures, equipment use, and emergency processes, you can avoid a lot of trouble. Instructions should be available to everyone, and special workers must receive professional training by experts to get legal certification. It’s important to restrict the use of equipment to only those individuals who are trained to use it. You can implement daily safety checks and monthly maintenance to ensure everything is in top shape, but motivating employees to respect safety procedures is also important (it’s possible to do so by offering leadership opportunities for training and mentorship).
Wear protective gear
It’s always important to protect clothing and equipment to prevent and reduce the risk and severity of injury in the workplace. According to your industry rules, your workers might be required to wear slip-resistant shoes, gloves, helmets, eyewear, and hearing protection. If working with heavy machinery, power tools, sharp objects, or in extreme weather, these will be necessary. To protect your company from lawsuits, provide workers with safety gear and get proper business insurance just in case.
Invest in employer business insurance
As stated in the previous section, it’s important for every business to be insured. If you find the right insurance company offering commercial general liability insurance, you can dodge all lawsuits and protect your business. Your business will be safe from personal injury lawsuits, and you will also gain defense in case of a slip and fall at the client’s location. Your general liability insurance will cover all medical expenses to a customer in case of an injury. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about claims concerning advertising errors, product liability, and property damage to client’s property. It’s also smart to consider investing in other business insurance types such as property insurance, commercial automobile and fleet insurance, builders risk insurance, etc.
Encourage good work hygiene
It’s well-known that regular breaks can reduce injuries in the workplace. The longer you work, the worse your fatigue is, increasing the number of accidents and reducing productivity. Even a five-minute break is enough to refuel the brain and body. You can encourage your sedentary workers to take short walks during the workday to improve brain activity and increase blood flow. Alternatively, workers who do a lot of standing and walking require seated breaks. All employees also need regular meals and hydration.
According to research, rushing a job can lead to many accidents. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, encourage your workers to follow proper procedures and avoid shortcuts. With your monitoring, all safety and quality concerns should be taken care of.
Focus on ergonomics
Some of the most common causes of workplace injury are improper lifting of heavy objects, bad posture while working and overreaching, so find ways to boost ergonomics and minimize these injuries. With proper education on tools and resource handling and proper ergonomic equipment (quality chairs and desks, mechanical aids, accessible shelves, etc.) it’s possible to reduce fatigue, improve posture and minimize injuries.
Keep it clean
No matter the industry, your small business or startup needs to be kept clean with regular property maintenance. Your workspace needs to have good ventilation (especially if you handle anything toxic or combustible) and the air ducts and high-moisture areas need to be cleaned from dust, mold, and bacteria, all of which can cause various illnesses. Tripping hazards can also be eliminated with proper decluttering and cleaning—hallways and stairways need to be clean, free of clutter, well-lit, and without holes or bumps. Outdoor maintenance is also important, so hire people to repair your driveway and sidewalk and keep them clean of snow, ice, and debris.
Don’t forget vehicle safety
All your commercial vehicles also fall under the work safety requirements. Every year, thousands of workplace death cases are reported all around the world connected to transportation-related incidents, so every business or startup owner needs to prioritize vehicle safety if they want to maintain a safe workplace environment.
Make sure the vehicles are only operated by trained staff with a clean driving record and a good lifestyle. Before every use, especially on longer business trips, it’s important to examine all vehicles and trailers, focusing on safety features. Routine maintenance for vehicles is a must. And you can even invest in Geofencing devices that keep track of your vehicles, their location, their driving manner, and their condition.
Practice emergency preparedness
It’s important to give your new members of the company proper training, but this part of the job shouldn’t be neglected ever. Repeating safety procedures allows workers to be able to react properly in an emergency.
When running your own business, there are many things to handle, but safety should be at the top of your list. With this list of things to pay attention to, you and your workers will be safe and productive.