When you get ready to start a small business, you have a lot on your mind: taxes, marketing, funding, and plenty more. These preoccupations are reflected in the articles you can read about startups. However, one area that doesn’t get enough attention is safety. This is not just for big companies or industries that have high accident rates. The tips below can help ensure that your workplace is a safe one from day one.
Know the Rules
You should know the rules and regulations in your industry and what your responsibilities are, including what kind of reporting you are supposed to do and to what bodies. Your employees should know the rules as well, and safety policies should be well-documented in the employee handbook. This needs to include clear instructions about what to do if an employee notices a violation and what the procedure will be in case there is an accident. Before you are up and running, you should perform a risk assessment so you have a good idea of what hazards may exist.
Establish the Right Culture
Creating a culture of safety helps make for a workplace where everyone works to enforce policies. There’s something of a stereotype that successful startups are rule breakers, but even if this describes your business, this attitude should never extend to safety. Make sure your employees, contractors, and anyone else you work with understands that you prioritize safety and won’t take shortcuts that endanger anyone.
People should also feel confident that they can speak to you about any violations without facing negative repercussions. These conversations can help you improve employee safety in ways you may not have realized without their input. Keep in mind that data security should be part of this culture as well. Make sure your staff knows what constitutes best practices and that you have adequate safeguards in place to protect against cyber-attacks.
All types of workplaces can have hazards, but if your business involves a fleet of drivers, you may have employees who are particularly vulnerable. You can review a guide to fleet safety that will teach you how to a build a video-based fleet safety program. This can help reduce costly accidents, avoid false claims and save you money overall.
Whether or not your business includes a fleet, all of your employees should receive adequate training. It should not be limited only to workers who are in positions with a higher accident rate. Some office workers may roll their eyes at having to sit through training on how to lift boxes without injuring themselves or avoid slip-and-fall accidents, but an awareness of these and other hazards in the workplace is important. Depending on the size of your workforce, you may want to hire someone who oversees your safety awareness and training or at least make it one part of the job description for an employee.
Another stereotype about startups is that they work their employees hard. In recent years, the trend has definitely shifted more toward employees demanding greater work-life balance, and there are good reasons to grant them this balance. Employees who are overworked and stressed out are more likely to have poor judgment and make errors that can result in accidents. Pay attention to signs you are overworking your team and do everything you can to get in front of this problem before you completely burn out your entire workforce.