Workplace safety is not just a buzzword or the latest topic on social media. It is an essential tactic in your entrepreneurial toolbelt to keep your employees and clients safe every day. The world is an ever-evolving place, both literally and figuratively. In keeping with that, you need to be proactive and make moves regarding the safety of everyone in your orbit. In today’s post, we share tips for workplace safety that help you attract and keep qualified employees as well as avoid legal troubles that can sink your venture or strap you for cash at a critical juncture.
Tips for workplace safety and preparedness
Keeping your workplace safe requires more than just adhering to minimum guidelines published by government agencies like OSHA (US Occupational Health and Safety Administration). But, that’s a great place to start as these rules help you avoid the most common types of dangerous situations in your workplace. For instance, you can find rules governing various types of safety equipment and signage required for businesses like yours. Many of these rules are designed to protect both employees and visitors to your site such as customers, vendors, and others.
Violations of these rules often come with large fines and expensive remediation efforts to bring your site up to standards required by your federal, state, and local governments. Enforcement often involves random inspections, depending on the nature of the business, to ensure you offer a safe workplace. Certain egregious violations can even involve jail time. Recently, several business owners of a business were convicted of manslaughter for serious violations of safety regulations resulting in the death of a worker.
Of course, government regulations cover the minimum standards required for a safe workplace. To avoid excessive worker’s comp claims resulting in higher premiums and large lawsuits filed for injury, you need to have a team from your staff charged with proactively seeking out potential threats and crafting policies or making changes to reduce your exposure to injury.
This proactive approach to workplace safety is part of preparedness. The other part is to schedule training for employees on policies and to prepare them for unexpected and uncontrollable issues that might arise, such as an active shooter. Below, you see a way to ensure preparedness for emergencies developed by Mendicino County, CA.
First, you must make a plan for emergencies that might arise, including steps to take and who to notify when an emergency arises. Next, you build a kit containing items you might need in case of an emergency, such as a list of emergency contact numbers and first aid suppliers. Finally, you must train workers on the plan so, when an emergency arises, the staff knows exactly how to handle the situation.
Maintain the supplies
Having safety and emergency supplies on hand in the workplace is similar to how you create an emergency kit for your home. The nuances and differences come into play when you begin to gather supplies you need a quantity suitable for the number of people likely affected by the emergency. Thus, more supplies are needed for a staff of 50 than for your home that contains four people.
Here are a few things to consider as you stock supplies for an emergency:
- non-perishable food
- flashlights and extra batteries
- first aid suppliers
- protective gear when working around chemicals or other hazardous materials
- a backup generator
- fire extinguisher
- a whistle to summon help if electronic devices fail
- hand sanitizer
- a few simple tools like a screwdriver, hammer, and wrench
Depending on your requirements or unique needs, you may wish to check out https://bulletsafe.com/ for other beneficial items to keep on hand should the need arise.
Watch this video for a helpful guide on how to build an emergency kit that you can then adapt to your specific workpace environment and staff.
Once you have everything in place, take it a step further and assign an employee to enter all your supplies into a spreadsheet. Ensure the employee or a collaborative team checks them periodically to ensure they have not spoiled, succumbed to curious rodents, or gone missing. Include the following items on the spreadsheet.
- Items in storage
- Expiration dates
- Links to where they were purchased
- Purchase dates
- Purchase prices (This helps when working on a safety budget)
- Items stored in each container
- Location of containers
Learn Your Safety Guidelines
Every employer should have a tested safety protocol in place for a variety of scenarios and that includes you. These items should cover everything you need to know regardless of the safety concern. It is not enough to have knowledge of the guidelines, you need to open the binder or file and learn what to do beforehand so you can respond without thinking if any emergency event occurs. There’s no time to look up how to handle an emergency.
As the leader, you must know whether or not your office manager conducts safety drills on the approved schedule. You can encourage that practice, but you also must require it. Your team’s safety is dependent on everyone knowing what to do if the worst happens. When emergencies occur, knowledge is power, it, leads to a calmer environment and an easier task handling the situation to avert more exposure to harm.
Work on the following safety drills at strategic points throughout the year. Monitor each employee to ensure they participated in these drills as required by your safety team. Invite local safety personnel to advise and watch the processes so they can offer suggestions to improve your response. This way, the experts can offer information on how to better streamline your safety protocols for safety, confidence, and peace of mind for everyone involved.
- Active Shooter Scenarios
- Fire Drills
Being a leader is an amazing thing when you get to impact others for the better. They look up to you for guidance throughout their professional careers. But, they also seek out calm confidence from you in the face of known and unknown safety concerns. It is your job to be prepared and be there for your team.
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