Workplace Safety Tips to Get More out of your Small Business
According to the Small Business Administration, a small business is an organization that has less than five hundred workers. Research has shown that small businesses in the United States employ 47.5% of the country’s workforce.
Small businesses usually don’t have the same resources as large businesses. Therefore, don’t allocate enough time and finances to safety (Bottino, 2019). As a result, small businesses have relatively high injury rates that negatively affect their profitability. It is, therefore, important for small businesses to have a safety program in place.
There are many benefits of workplace safety, and they outweigh the costs of dealing with incidents. The following are workplace safety tips that small businesses should incorporate.
Consider Safety When Designing a Workplace
As a business owner, one should ensure that the team in charge of designing the workroom, stage materials, arrange machines, and correctly position product flow in a manner that stresses proficiency and safety. Another tip is observing cleanliness. Clean and hygienic workstations are not only safer but also more prolific. No matter what, work environments should always be clean and tidy so as to make hazards easily visible. This is vital in any organization because it increases productivity, and the small business gets to spare medical insurance resources on dealing with injuries.
Involving Staff in Business Safety Operations
Employees are likely to have a better comprehension of the safety concerns of a particular work environment compared to anyone else. Thus, business owners should gather input from staff and adhere to their proposals rather than depending on static industry canons that sometimes can fail to be relevant to your precise needs. Other than that, it is important to always give clear instructions in all business operations. Daily activities and training should be clear and succinct, and the procedure outlined adequately for the staff. Also, documenting various work methods enables one to examine all possible safety hazards and address them. This similarly eradicates the chances of staff working with the wrong equipment or inadequate training, which is the cause of most accidents.
Focus On the Prevalent Problem Areas
Although it is inviting to focus your business safety efforts on preventing disastrous violations, it is the smaller and more common hazards that cause the majority of injuries that small businesses spend a lot of funds on. An example of such problems is cuts from equipment edges, slips that result from inappropriate footwear, dangerous or slippery floors, and strained backs that are caused by poor lifting systems. In addition, it is imperative to endorse open communication and reporting for safety issues and concerns. Each individual in a workstation should feel free to report possible safety issues to their supervisors or superiors. Other than ensuring safety, it is also important because it encourages trust and open communication. Having health and safety software like EcoOnline can help you monitor your workplace’s safety concerns easily.
Maintaining Work Equipment and all Machinery
Maintaining work equipment and all machinery is equally important when it comes to work safety (Benecaid Info, 2016). It is normal for machinery to break down over time and become dangerous. Worn-out machines are a liability when workers start doing modifications and revamping jobs. Hence it is important to keep machinery in good working conditions to avert risky equipment failures. It is also important for a business owner or human resource manager to study and understand how their staff work. Even when workplaces are documented, it is possible for employees to violate them and opt for processes that appear easier and more efficient to them. It is, therefore, crucial to observe workers and ensure that processes are followed. In most cases, shortcuts end up being safety hazards.
Review of Safety Guidelines Annually
For optimum safety in workplaces, it is imperative for small businesses to review safety guidelines annually. Every company must evolve, and so should the safety guidelines. Companies purchase new equipment, employ new staff, and upgrade their health and safety management system, which requires constant upgrading of safety strategies. Avoiding risks that can be easily avoided should also be encouraged. It is important to check on workstations regularly and warrant that no equipment, storage procedures, or chemicals are being applied that can lead to high risks of injury. Small organizations should equally practice emergency alertness. Safety drills and training should be regular and a part of team building. This will enable staff to acquaint themselves with good safety practices. It will also help them develop solid approaches to responding well in case of emergencies. It is possible for accidents to take place in workplaces in spite of great aversion efforts. That is why it is crucial for employees and business owners to be prepared for emergencies.
Label Designated Hazardous Areas
Small businesses should visibly label designated hazardous areas. In workstations and areas where hazardous materials and equipment are kept, they should be well labeled as well as the walkways. Signages should be incorporated in such labels. Dangerous areas can also be labeled with black and white paintings on the floor or walls or tape. This makes staff aware of hazardous zones and prevents accidents. First aid training correspondingly contributes to workplace safety. Giving staff first aid stations is a practical and efficient way of dealing with emergencies (Alsco, 2016). The stations should always be stocked with the required meds and supplies for dealing with prevalent accidents at work. For any business, carrying out a workplace risk assessment is the foremost approach to fashioning a safer workplace. It helps a business to know all the possible risks. Once this is established, a business is in a position to take the right precautions.
Ergonomic Work Environment Involvement
Ensuring the ergonomic work environment also plays a major role in ensuring work safety (Copeland, 2013). Small businesses should consider having furniture that is ergonomically designed. It is also essential to arrange the work area in a manner that things are easily accessible. This avoids falling and other similar accidents when trying to reach for things. In the case of offices, small businesses should ensure that their workstations suit their different employees. This entails adequate light, good desks, and chairs, as well as good computers. Under other conditions, a barista who does all his work while standing should be given an anti-fatigue mat to assist in coping with sore joints and backs. Small businesses should also invest in mechanical aids to be used by staff when lifting and transporting things. Employees should not be used to lift heavy operations in their daily activities. This is because doing so puts the lies of employees in danger by increasing injuries as well as the costs of medical insurance. Examples of simple mechanical aids are conveyor belts, wheelbarrows, forklifts, and cranes. According to statistics, the lifting of heavyweight materials is the leading cause of bone and muscle issues in workplaces. In cases where only lightboxes are carried around, maybe in an office, it is equally important to teach staff to properly lift them to avoid back pains.
Lessening Workstation Stress
The most rampant causes of stress are heavy workloads, working for long hours, and job conflicts and insecurities. The above cases are likely to result in insomnia and depression, which both reduce employee productivity. Thus, it is necessary for small businesses to encourage healthy living and fashion, in an environment that is stress-free. To achieve this, business owners or human resource managers should first identify the various causes of stress among staff. One can use the work identification stress checklist to better understand the risk factors for different employees. It is also important to encourage staff always to stay hydrated. Working during summer can sometimes be tough due to the high temperatures. Employees become dehydrated, and some o the signs are headaches, dry mouth, feeling thirsty, and dark urine. Nevertheless, dehydration similarly reduces brain functionality as well as cognitive capacities. This implies that employees will have less concentration, which can cause accidents during work. As a result, it is important for managers to endorse drinking water and other non-alcoholic drinks regularly so as to recover the fluids they lose while working.
Providing Workers with Appropriate Clothing
Staff who deal with power tools should have the right workwear when operating machinery. They should also be given the right footwear and equipment for their activities. In the case of hazardous material or chemicals, employees should ensure that they use versatile protection mask and gloves that fit right. Lastly, employers should give their staff regular breaks. It has been proven that several small breaks are more effective compared to one long one. The small breaks enhance employees’ cognitive abilities, lowers the risk of stress and depression, increase their creativity, and make them healthier. All these reduce accidents and health issues, which in turn increases the productivity of workers. When workers are productive, the profitability of small businesses also increases.
All the above simple tips can greatly assist small businesses to manage the avoidable consumption of medical insurance resources so that staff can use their flex plans for more profitable purchases.
Alsco. (2016). 17 WORKPLACE SAFETY TIPS TO SHARE WITH YOUR EMPLOYEES. Retrieved from ALSCO.COM: https://www.alsco.com.au/2016/11/all-business-and-companies-must-have-workplace-safety-tips-for-employees/
Benecaid Info. (2016, February 3). 10 Workplace Safety Tips to Get More out of Your Small Business Benefits. Retrieved from Benecaid: https://www.benecaid.com/10-workplace-safety-tips-to-get-more-out-of-your-small-business-benefits/
Bottino, B. (2019, September 22). Safety and the small business. Retrieved from Satey+Health: https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/18899-safety-and-the-small-business
Copeland, J. (2013). TOP 10 WORKPLACE SAFETY TIPS EVERY EMPLOYEE SHOULD KNOW. Safety-Page-Commentary.pdf, 2.