As a business owner, you owe a duty of care to keep all people involved in your business safe to the most reasonable extent possible. Failure to make your business safe could result in injury, liability, or lawsuits, which could damage you more than financially. Even if you work from home, knowing what you need to be aware of should be part of your overall business management strategy.
Success In Small Business Means Safety For All
When business owners talk about safety in the workplace, the first thought is often for workers or employees. But in reality, small business safety is about keeping everyone safe – everyone from you to your clients and customers, and even to the delivery person. Your level of care and responsibility will directly impact your success in small business, as any injury or accident could easily put you out of business or at the very least impact the rates and fees you pay on insurance and settlements.
When you think about safety in the workplace, think about it from all perspectives. Consider all the individuals, including children and adults, who might come into contact with your place of business, and who might require you to think outside the box a little to keep them safe.
Small Business Safety – Things Big, Things Small
Big, glaring safety hazards may be obvious corrections to make, but it is often the little things that are overlooked that cause trouble and safety issues. Look at every aspect of your business and infrastructure to ensure safety.
- Look at large units like heating, air conditioning, and electrical systems and equipment, and hire licensed professionals for maintenance and repairs
- Look at small hazards like sharp objects, loosened fixtures, uncovered wall plugs, and peeling paint (especially if it is old)
- Take care with chemicals that are used – store away from the public and train staff to use responsibly and safely
- Check and maintain guards and safety mechanisms on mechanical equipment; be sure all equipment is regularly inspected and in good working order
- Properly store flammable liquids and gases and use responsibly
- Be sure poisons and acids are properly used and kept strictly away from the public
- Train staff in their jobs, proper handling, and emergency procedures
- Be sure that emergency equipment such as washes and fire extinguishers are always readily available, and always in working order
- Prepare emergency and evacuation plans
- Provide a safe, healthy work environment
- Pay strict attention to hygiene of the workspace and of staff, particularly where food is involved
- Repair all disrepairs
- Maintain property in the event of storms and weather that increase likelihood of falls and so forth
- Remember that confidentiality and information safety is of equal importance, and always maintain security protocols
This is a general list of considerations for businesses, but local regulations and governmental or trade safety requirements will always trump a general list. Be sure to contact the appropriate authorities and follow their guidelines for safety, and also for liability and insurance requirements.
People working from home are not immune to issues of workplace safety. Any business where people may come onto the property, even if just for a casual meeting, owes a debt of responsibility to clientele and employees, and confidentiality and information security are issues even for the most remote and physically detached businesses.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to small business safety – it’s something that can never be overdone. Make sure that your business is safe and secure in every way so that you protect both yourself and those who do business with you.