Ensuring the safety and health of employees is one of the most significant challenges most small businesses face. Limited resources and budgets restrict the devotion and amount of time small business owners can spend maintaining and complying with workplace safety. The (OHSR) Occupational Health and Safety Regulation requires all businesses to have a health and safety program. This program helps prevent work-related diseases and injuries. Even if you are a small business owner, specific tips can help you secure the safety and health in your workplace. Consider the following tips:
- Understand the rules and regulations
Compared to large corporations, small businesses are held to a different standard. Therefore, since OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has specified that small businesses have smaller staff and workplace, educating yourself about the current and updated OSHA safety standards is a necessity. It is easy to take the necessary steps to secure the workplace safety of your business once you have familiarized yourself with set rules and regulations.
- Understand common safety concerns
To reduce the risks posed on your establishment, understand common safety concerns, and distribute necessary safety resources to risky areas. As per National Safety Council Safety Consultants in 2016, common safety hazards include:
- Forklifts – negligence or inadequate training
- Lockout/Tagout – unfamiliarity with the equipment to be used
- Chemicals – poor labeling of chemicals, unstable chemicals
- Confined spaces – unstable atmosphere and collapsing
- Working at heights – lack of proper fall protection equipment
- Electrical/extension cords – tripping hazards or too many extension cords
- Poor housekeeping – exposed machinery or exposed wires
- Conduct a safety audit
Since you have understood the safety concerns and familiarize yourself with the required rules and regulations, conducting a safety audit is a straightforward task. The main objective of conducting a safety audit is to identify health, safety, and fire risks. While conducting the surveys, a necessary assessment should be done to determine if the building or establishment complies with fire codes. Additionally, the establishment should have measures to detect unsafe hazards.
With the current technological advancement, numerous systems are installed to curb different types of hazards. One such system is the incident tracking software. The software is installed to detect and send notifications to the business owner or relevant authorities before a disaster strikes. For instance, if you have installed an incident tracking software in your business and happen to have a gas leak, you will receive a notification on your phone or laptop. Alternatively, your local fire department can get notified of possible fire damage before the worse happens. Consulting an expert can help you incorporate modern technology, like Engage EHS, to improve the safety of your workplace after you have done an audit.
- Provide safety training and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Workplace safety education and proper machine training are among the best investments your small business can make. By training your employees, you guarantee the elimination of risks and hazards that could lead to massive OSHA violations and fines. As a business owner, you will also evade costly insurance claims or worse facing a lawsuit. Safety training and providing PPE can indeed be costly, but you will benefit greatly. Besides, free online materials are ranging from tutorial videos to quizzes and blogs you can use to train your employees. Finally, you have to provide the right personal protective equipment to your employees depending on their occupation, the type of business you are running, the size of your business, and the risks they are facing, among other factors. PPE is costly, but since they are a necessity, ensure you research and buy the right equipment to guarantee the safety of your employees.
- Keep reminding your employees about safety
It is usual for your employees to get overwhelmed by work, daily lives, family, or other things. However, you should always remind them about observing all the rules and procedures to guarantee work safety. You can print flyers and posts to issue or hang in your business premises. Also, you can send emails or phone messages to all your employees, reminding them to be keen, observe all protocols, and get all the safety documents required. Being a responsible employer goes a long way in avoiding lawsuits, loss of money, and ensuring safety at the place of work.