How To Establish Proper Workplace Safety Protocols
As a small business owner you know that you need to keep your employees safe for ethical and legal reasons. You don’t want to lose great employees because they feel unsafe in the workplace or get hurt on the job, but you also don’t want your business to be liable for an accident and get caught up in legal fees and court proceedings.
Every business is different, so start by determining workplace risks in your industry and space. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) breaks down four basic elements of proper safety protocols to help you develop your plan.
Manager and Employee Involvement.
Your employees’ attitudes toward workplace safety and protocol will most likely reflect your own. If you don’t seem concerned about your process, they probably won’t be either. OSHA suggests showing your commitment through actions and including your employees in the process. Some of their recommendations include:
- Have a meeting to discuss your safety risks, objectives and policies
- Set up safety activities and actively participate in them
- Review all accident reports and personally follow up on them
- Encourage employees to make suggestions, conduct inspections and teach safety training for their departments
- Assign specific safety responsibilities to certain employees, but make sure that all employees are held accountable for following the rules
You need to know what risks your business and workplace have. Some risks may be obvious while others may be a bit harder to figure out. For example, if you own a construction company, there are obvious risks with power tools, ladders, cars and so on. But if you run a marketing agency, you may think there aren’t any risks associated with your business.
Entrepreneur suggests connecting with your insurance company and your local chamber of commerce to assess your business’ risks. Insurance companies don’t want you to file claims, so they may be willing to send out a safety specialist. Your chamber of commerce may have free safety seminars or be able to recommend private consultants.
Hazard Prevention and Control.
Once you know what hazards are associated with your business, you can set up your specific safety protocols. Ask the consultation companies to help you with this process. For example, contact a mesothelioma attorney to learn about the different forms of asbestos exposure and how you can protect your business. You also can determine what personal protective equipment (PPE) you need to provide, what emergency plans you need to establish and what medical availability you need to have nearby.
Every person at your company needs to undergo safety training, including managers, C-level executives and staff. According to OSHA, employees cannot be expected to start a job until they have received proper instructions and training, and they should not perform any task that seems unsafe. You should pay extra attention to new employees or employees switching roles because they are more likely to get hurt or be involved in an accident. It will save you time and money in the long run to make sure they are comfortable and understand your procedures.
Make sure all of your employees understand the risks and how you are mitigating them so they feel safe. Take extra time to work with your managers to ensure they feel comfortable enforcing your procedures and can answer any questions other employees may have.
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