~by Dixie Somers~
As a business owner it’s your responsibility to keep employees safe. The cost of neglecting safety can be serious. You could face law suits, fines, lost productivity, and a reputation as a dangerous and uncaring company. All employers need to take steps to ensure they are providing a safe workplace. Here are five tips you should follow.
1. Maintain Cleanliness
Work areas are more productive when they’re neat and organized. They are also safer. Removing clutter and debris will help to minimize risks of falls, knocking items off shelves or tables. Insist that spills or garbage that could cause slipping or unsanitary conditions are cleaned up immediately. Ensure that work areas are kept clean and that everything is kept in its proper place when not in use.
2. Keep Machinery in Safe Working Order
Ordinary wear and tear can lead to breakdowns that make equipment unsafe, leading to injury and workers compensation lawsuits. Make a safety check of everything from hand tools to forklifts a part of the routine. Bad brakes, loose safety rails or handles, slipping belts, and exposed wires could lead to serious accidents. As the business owner, you owe it to yourself and your employees to maintain equipment in good working order.
3. Educate Employees on Safety
Make a review of safety procedures mandatory for new hires, and a part of regular training for all employees. Employees need to know about the potential dangers they may encounter in their roles. Be sure they can locate and use fire extinguishers, first aid stations, emergency alarms and exits, and that they know how to properly handle and store chemicals. You might also consider appointing a safety officer, such as someone qualified through a bachelors in occupational safety.
Make sure that supervisors understand the importance of safety. Have them keep watch during normal operations to ensure safety guidelines are being followed. This can include properly stacking boxes or pallets, turning off machinery when not in use, and wearing gloves, eye protection, aprons, or respirators as needed.
5. Encourage Staff to Report Unsafe Conditions
You should provide a documentable means that allows all employees to report potential safety risks to supervisors, maintenance personnel, or both. Slippery walkways, loose racks, dim or erratic lighting, or anything that appears to be a potential hazard, should be identified, investigated and corrected immediately.
Maintaining a safe workplace requires organization and constant vigilance. Be sure to schedule safety training sessions, especially on those issues you consider critical. Creating a company culture where health and safety are valued reduces the risk of costly accidents.
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer who loves writing for business, finance, and those with an entrepreneurial spirit. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters.