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5 Tips for Cultivating a Culture of Safety in Your Small Business



5 Tips for Cultivating a Culture of Safety in Your Small Business

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You might assume that all you need to do to protect your employers is sign up for the best workers’ compensation insurance for small business owners. While workers’ comp insurance is crucial for avoiding fines, complying with state laws, and protecting employees, it’s essentially an “ambulance at the bottom of the cliff” approach.

Alongside purchasing the appropriate insurance for your small business, you should also cultivate a culture of safety to protect your team. You can do this in some of the following ways:

Create a Safety Policy

Employees might not always know how to keep themselves safe if you don’t tell them how. So create a safety policy, and clarify your expectations for their protection and yours. At the bare minimum, your policy should include health and safety policies that all new and existing staff must abide by, helpful information about what to do in an emergency, and fire exit identification. Review your safety policy often to ensure its relevance in the ever-changing business landscape.

Identify and Assess Hazards Regularly

Workplace hazards can change constantly, but not all employees will be aware of them. With this in mind, you should aim to make hazard identification and assessments part of your standard work routine.

When you regularly work to identify potential hazards, you can implement steps to mitigate or eliminate them. In doing so, you’ll create a safer working environment with potentially fewer workplace accidents.

Lead By Example

As a business owner, it can be tempting to forge your own path and run your business how you see fit. However, your preferred operating style might differ from what’s required by law.

For example, you might not see the need to wear hard hats around heavy machinery, and if this is the case, your employees won’t see the need either. However, OSHA Standard 1910.132 requires employers to provide and use protective equipment where hazards are evident.

By following all health and safety laws and operating your workplace in a way that safety bodies would approve of, your employees should be more likely to follow suit. They will quickly learn that you have no tolerance for unsafe work practices that put them and others at risk.

Encourage Incident Reporting

Many employees are too afraid to report work-related injuries and symptoms. Employees might also choose not to report near-misses, accidents, injuries, and symptoms because:

  • The symptoms weren’t severe
  • They didn’t want to cause problems for their department supervisors
  • They didn’t know how to report their problem
  • They didn’t want to be a burden on their co-workers
  • They worried about potential future disadvantages
  • Others didn’t report theirs, so they didn’t either

Reporting incidents is important for creating a safer working environment for all. So encourage your team to speak up and report issues. It may require some extra work on your end, but it’s a crucial step in addressing safety concerns as they arise.

Involve Everyone

Health and safety policies can seem like a management issue. As long as employees follow the rules, they feel like they don’t have to concern themselves with what’s written in the average health and safety plan. However, there’s no reason all staff members can’t be included in safety planning.

Encourage your team to participate in incident investigations, risk identification, and safety training. The more involved they are, the more proactive they might be in ensuring their workplace is safe.

Cultivating a culture of safety can seem complicated and unnecessary, especially if your employees are skilled and know what they’re doing. However, by prioritizing health and safety, you can reduce workplace incidents and keep your entire team happy and healthy.

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