Why Small Business Owners Need to Think About Safety

Are you a small business owner with too much to do every day? Operating your business, directing employees, dealing with suppliers … and more ... is anything but small. It’s a big job. Yet an important issue many small businesses overlook is workplace safety. A workplace safety program is critical to the success of your business. In fact, it’s important to take on the responsibility of a safety program for the health of your employees and your business. You can get started by following just a few simple steps.

Identify hazards: Whether you’re a construction company, a small printer, or an accounting firm, your small business comes complete with special hazards. It’s your job to identify what those hazards are and to inform current and new employees. By identifying fall hazards, guarding against dangerous chemicals, or developing safer ways to meet heavy lifting needs, you show employees that you value their safety. Have a plan in place in the event someone does get injured, and always have a first aid kit available to employees.

Provide routine inspections: Wear and tear is part of the lifecycle of all equipment, so ongoing inspections of items regularly used by employees—from office equipment to production machinery—is very important. Daily, weekly, monthly, and semi-annual checkups should be scheduled and adhered to. And if any equipment is malfunctioning, take it out of service immediately until it can be repaired.

Speak with your employees: Even if you only have a handful of employees, it’s important to set aside time to talk to each of them individually. Your employees are the ones in the trenches day after day. While you may try to prevent all accidents in the workplace, they can see things you probably don’t. Talk to them about their work, any safety concerns they may have, and how they feel workplace safety could improve -- then address those concerns as quickly as possible.

Investigate accidents: Accidents on the job will happen. You can show employees you care about their safety by thoroughly investigating accidents that do occur. Determine what happened so that you can help employees avoid a similar occurrence. Always keep thorough records of any accidents that happen on work grounds.

Train, train, train: On-the-job training is important to employee growth and satisfaction. It can also help you increase workplace safety. From fire and tornado drills to bringing in an expert for an all-day training session about equipment your employees use regularly, good training speaks volumes to employees about your safety program.

When you’re a small business owner, there’s a lot to consider. So it’s understandable that many small business owners don’t think about safety as much as they think about meeting sales goals or improving profits. But by keeping workers safe, small business owners also help protect their business investment -- and that is an imperative to every business owner’s bottom line.