Workplace injuries are more common than you might think. In fact, 2.9 million non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses were reported in 2015. The good news is, the number of workers getting hurt on the job has declined steadily since 2012.
As a business owner in particular, keeping your staff out of harm’s way is a top priority. In honor of June being National Safety Month, here are five tips for putting safety first.
1. Make safety a part of your business culture
Your culture, in a nutshell, defines who you are and what your business stands for. With this in mind, part of that means making sure you’re giving your employees a safe and healthy work environment.
Making safety an integral part of your culture starts with clear communication. Whether you have two employees or 200, everyone on staff should know the business’s safety policies and emergency procedures. They should also have a role in ensuring they follow the policies, with safety featuring regularly in day-to-day discussions.
2. Review your safety training procedures
A good safety training program can be invaluable to your bottom line. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, an effective health and safety training program can save your business $4 to $6 for every $1 you invest in it.
Not sure how your program measures up? Take a close look at your training initiatives. Do employees only receive training if they’re new? How often do you hold meetings to review safety procedures or hold fire drills? If these are sporadic at best, it might be a sign that it’s time to get serious about making sure your staff is equipped to avert workplace hazards.
3. Keep gear up to date
Inspect your supply of safety gear regularly. For instance, it’s good to have a fully-stocked first aid kit and fire extinguishers charged and ready to go. You might need wet floor signs if you have a store or restaurant. Also, protective gloves, safety eye wear and earplugs may be on the list for a construction business. If you run a business like a gym or health club which requires specialized equipment, like an automated external defibrillator (AED), review and maintain the manufacturers’ recommended maintenance schedule.
4. Assess trouble spots
Self-assessment, conducting regular physical audits of your business premises, can help detect potential dangers and changes in environments. Areas to assess can include:
- Lighting: adequate to complete tasks without strain
- Walkways and stairways: clean and with secure handrails.
- Safety guards: in place.
- Air and ventilation: good quality and adequate circulation.
- Work areas: free from sharp objects or protruding edges.
5. Check your insurance coverage
Hopefully, you and your employees stay injury-free but if an accident occurs, the right insurance can be a lifesaver. Specifically, that means having adequate worker’s compensation coverage. Each state determines if a business must purchase worker’s compensation insurance. Even if you have just one employee, you’re better off being safe (and covered) than sorry.