Too often, small business owners fail to appropriately budget for adequate safety features when it comes to their business plan. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of injury and illness is significantly higher at small businesses than at larger corporations. The most recent rates are 3.7 reportable injuries per 100 employees for businesses between 50 and 249 employees compared to 3.3 per 100 for businesses with over 1,000 employees. Here are several effective and relatively inexpensive steps that you can take to make your business safer as a whole.
Provide training for your employees
Safety training can be as simple or as complex as you wish to make it. If firefighter online training is readily available, then the right resource for your particular agency is only a few clicks away. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides various free training courses in addition to their paid offerings. Grants are also available through OSHA for non-profit entities.
Put together a first aid kit
First aid kits are also an often overlooked, inexpensive, and important addition to any business. Every location should have a simple first aid kit with gauze, bandages, and antiseptic. You can easily scale that small kit upwards as necessary based upon the number of employees and the type of work that is being done. A retail shop is more than equipped with a basic kit, whereas a small manufacturing plant may need a more robust first aid kit containing:
- Pressure dressings
- Hemostatic gauze
- Quick application tourniquets
One critical step is, regardless of the contents of the kit, to place contact phone numbers for the local emergency services on the exterior or just inside the lid. Under stressful conditions, it is easy for people to forget even well-known numbers. The goal is to remove the potential for mistakes if at all possible.
Obtain insurance and keep it current
Business insurance is neglected by almost half of all small businesses. Sadly enough, these small businesses are precisely the ones that are typically the least capable of weathering the unexpected expenses that insurance is in place to address.
An accident, a faulty product, employee error, or a crime being committed against the business or on the property can all result in civil litigation or unexpected expenses. A small business owner without insurance is then left solely responsible for all of these costs, along with potential legal fees. Most people insure their home and their car without a second thought, yet the number of proprietors without business insurance remains high. Protecting your investment with insurance is always going to be money well spent.
Install a surveillance system
No matter what industry your small business is a part of, a video surveillance system is an integral safety feature. It acts as a visible deterrent to criminal activity and policy violations. Cameras can also capture critical evidence should an accident or crime occur on your property. Frequently, video surveillance systems will also entitle you to a discount on your business insurance. With advances in technology, high-quality cameras are becoming even more inexpensive, and you are able to cover larger areas with fewer devices.
Consider using an alarm system
This safety feature is entirely dependent on personal choice, and it is also highly customizable. You may decide that a monitored alarm system is not worth the monthly expense. You do, however, have the option of installing an audible-only burglar alarm. Those systems emit a loud alarm but don’t contact law enforcement. That type of system has little to no upkeep cost.
Again, depending upon your business type, you may decide that a fully monitored alarm system with fire sensors and an integrated panic button is what you require, but by no means is that the right solution for everyone.
Remember, as a small business owner, you are responsible for providing a workplace free of serious hazards. You want it to be a safe place for you and your employees to conduct business. Taking even some of these steps outlined above could make the difference between continuing to operate your profitable small business or losing everything that you have worked for.