Home Business Entrepreneurs Guide: Safety Protocol and Procedures In Small Business

Entrepreneurs Guide: Safety Protocol and Procedures In Small Business

by Olufisayo
Safety Protocol and Procedures In Small Business

Noncompliance to safety regulations will cost your business between $13,260 and $132,598, depending on the violation. The costs are higher if you find yourself in litigation.

The easiest way out is complying with the regulations. But how do you go about it?

The following are key tips and guidelines to create a safety protocol that protects your business and your employees.

Safety Protocol and Procedures In Small Business

1. Understand Existing Laws

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) subjects all employers to specific safety standards. This act stipulates an employer’s responsibility at the workplace and outlines specific things they must do or not do.

The main premise, however, is that an employer has a duty to provide his or her employees with a safe and comfortable working environment.

Unfortunately, complying with the act may not be as easy as it sounds. It is important to hire an attorney to help you with compliance and to document all reasonable measures you have taken to create a safe environment.

Not every attorney will be helpful here. Find a reputable attorney with experience in compliance issues. Ask for referrals from friends and family, check for online reviews and look for firms making positive news.

2. Evaluate Your Business’s Existing Risks

OSHA recommends carrying out a business premise analysis of all possible hazards.

You can have a free analysis done by a health and safety professional in your state. They can also advise on the common causes of workplace accidents.

Similarly, you can ask employees to give you pointers on the areas of their jobs that pose any risks to them. Most often, your employees are best placed to identify possible issues because they spend hours at their jobs.

3. Document Your Safety Protocol

Once you are clear on industry regulations as well your workplace’s unique safety issues, you need to outline safety solutions. These are procedures to prevent accidents and what to do if they occur.

A comprehensive safety manual should include emergency procedures for natural disasters and fires. It should also include safety instructions for typical, manual tasks and consequences for intentional violations.

You can also have special authorizations for hazardous jobs as well as drills to test for preparedness.

Have the complete document reviewed by a safety professional to ensure it meets industry and legal standards.

4. Employee Education

The OSHA act requires you to provide suitable workplace conditions and to provide safety training.

This includes making them aware of the potential hazards their jobs pose to them and how to adequately control or eliminate them.

This safety training can be something you do during the induction of each new employee. However, you still need to have periodic refresher safety training sessions.

It also helps to have anonymous reporting systems that employees can use to give feedback into the usefulness of the training.

They can also suggest areas of improvement and point out new hazards that are not covered in the safety policy and training curriculum.

5. Incident Reporting Procedures

Reporting procedures are an integral part of safety policies.

Without any data on threats, injuries and accidents, you are unable to regulate or improve the existing safety measures.

Again, be very specific in outlining the procedure. Include what incidents should be reported and to whom.

It’s imperative to have this documented. So have a detailed incident form for the employee to fill out. The persons who receive such reports should also fill out similar forms.

In addition to this, ensure to investigate all incidents as well. The purpose of this is not to assign blame, but to help you improve your safety policy.

You have to walk a tight rope balancing between punishing willful violations and getting your employees to report accidents and injuries.

6. Employee Involvement

A common mistake businesses make is having executives work on safety policies from start to finish then hand it over to employees.

Let’s look at it practically from a business that sells electronics. Such a business has an administrative office and possibly a warehouse.

The environment the accountant is in at the administration office is worlds apart from the environment a loader at the warehouse is in. In fact, the two don’t compare.

This is why employee inclusion is important. Not only do they know the in’s and out’s of their work environment, but also, having a hand in policy development increases employee engagement.

Each employee should technically be a safety officer. If they notice any hazards as pertains to your business, they should be empowered to flag them.

7. Security Policy

These address the non-work related hazards and external threats. Security procedures can protect your property and your employees while within your premises.

Compliance, however, depends to a large extent with your staff. Your policy should, therefore, be explicit about what you expect from them.

This can include not giving their work keys to a third party, ensuring to lock doors and activate alarms as well as restricting access to company property.

It should also detail the procedure to follow when there has been a security breach on the premises.

8. Management Support

Safety is not an employee-only undertaking. Rather, it’s something that each person in an organization should play an active role in. This includes an organization’s leadership.

A major component of safety protocols is adopting a safety-first culture. For this to succeed, it must have the support of the management.

Management support goes beyond policy development. It must be seen to be active members in all safety-related activities as well.

The Cost of Non-Compliance

While most people will think about the cash fines of non-compliance, it goes much deeper than that.

To your employees, having a safety protocol shows you are a caring employer. This is motivating and reassuring. Motivated employees stay with an employer for longer, are more focused and perform optimally.

Compliance also builds your reputation as a credible, responsible business. This is a quality most customers will appreciate.

When you are compliant with safety regulations, you reduce the incidences of accidents and injuries. In turn, this reduces absenteeism and increases productivity.

Lastly, compliance reduces your legal liability and insurance premiums. This reduces your cost of doing business, and the monies can be channeled into scaling your business.

Do you need more tips to help grow your business? You can get valuable insights from this blog.

Related Articles