Small businesses have to implement safety standards at the workplace, same as large corporations. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the government has provided various guidelines that will help you maintain workplace safety.
However, small businesses often have a harder time than their larger counterparts when it comes to maintaining workplace safety standards. It may seem as if making the environment safer for fewer employees should be easier, but smaller businesses also have to contend with smaller budgets.
Why should your small business maintain workplace safety?
OSHA conducts regular inspections that require all businesses to maintain a safe and secure workplace environment. If your small business fails to comply with OSHA’s standards, your business could be penalized.
Your employees will perform better if they’re working in a safer environment. Accidents at work or employees frequently falling ill can affect their performance and your bottom line.
But how do you ensure that you can create a healthy and safe environment for your employees? Here are seven tips for managing safety for a small business:
1. Safety awareness program
Your small business will need to put policies in place that enable you to streamline workplace health and safety. Creating a safety awareness program that disseminates your policies and procedures among your employees will keep them informed. If your employees know what the potential risks at the workplace are, as well as how to report them, they can keep themselves and your business safe.
Remember that your safety policies and programs should adhere to your budget and workplace culture. Different small businesses operate differently, so creating safety policies in line with how your business operates is ideal for you.
2. Conduct a worksite analysis
In a worksite analysis, you’ll be inspecting and gauging your workspace as a whole. From broken furniture to mold growth, nothing should be spared during your inspection.
Alongside inspecting your workplace, consider investigating the potential hazards faced by employees within your industry. This will immediately let you know what you can expect and help you create mitigation programs against such hazards.
3. Do regular workplace safety assessments
It isn’t enough to conduct an analysis and inspect your workplace once. You should do this either annually or a few times a year. That way, should any problems arise, you’ll be able to isolate them and deal with them immediately. This ensures that a potential problem doesn’t become a bigger one, and your employees will feel safer as well.
Assigning an employee to be in charge of workplace safety assessments helps you delegate the work and free up time for yourself. However, before you delegate, consider conducting training sessions for your employees so that they know how to respond to potential hazards at work.
4. Take advantage of OSHA’s programs
What many small business owners don’t know is that OSHA provides free compliance training programs to applying businesses. Their training programs are especially useful for small businesses.
All you have to do is apply for their health and safety training program, and OSHA will take care of the rest. Representatives will visit your workplace, train your employees and ensure that your employees know how to look out for and react to health and safety hazards.
You don’t have to be worried about being penalized or face citations for existing safety issues. In such situations, OSHA will give you guidelines on how to improve them. As a participating small business under the health and safety training program, your primary responsibility is to ensure that you implement the advice provided to you by OSHA.
5. Regular safety training sessions
Starting health and safety training sessions for all your employees can help you train them. Let them know what kind of safety hazards they can face, how to look out for them, and how to report them. Providing basic knowledge of first aid can also help employees react to minor workplace incidents.
Your senior management and, of course, you should also take an active role in these programs. The best way to motivate your employees is to show them that you’re invested. When they see you and the top management taking your health and safety policies seriously, they’ll be more inclined to do the same.
6. Regularly maintain equipment
Equipment breakdowns can be a serious safety hazard. Loose wires, minor explosions, and even small fires can come from faulty equipment. By regularly getting your equipment inspected by professionals, you greatly reduce the chances of a workplace incident.
7. Store your data
Collecting and maintaining data of previous and current health and safety incidents helps you to monitor the standards at your workplace. You can make use of an electronic management system to store all your data in the same place. That way, should an inspector ask you for documentation related to health and safety at your workplace, you can provide them access immediately.
By protecting the health and safety of your employees at the workplace, you can ensure that they can perform regularly. A well-constructed health and safety guideline, policies, and procedures help you easily make your employees aware of the safety standards at the workplace.
Getting insurance can protect your small business if a workplace incident does occur. If your employee gets hurt at work, then they can apply for Workers Compensation. Workers Comp protects their income during the days they can’t work and helps them through their recovery phase. It’s also legally required by various states for small businesses to hold a Workers Compensation Insurance Policy. If you want to learn more about Workers Cover, you can click here.