When you start out in business, chances are that you’ll be going it alone. The majority of small start ups rely solely on the business owner.
This individual might call in the help of one or two freelance workers to aid in parts of the startup, such as a graphic designer for the company’s logo and typeface, a web designer to help establish an impressive site and a photographer to take high-quality images of stock. However, as a business expands and experiences higher levels of demand, you will have to start taking on employees of your own.
This comes with a lot of responsibility. Not only is the process of finding the right employee difficult (you are likely to have to search far and wide, conducting interviews and offering trial shifts), but once you find the right individual to work alongside you and to represent your brand, you have to secure a contract. This means negotiating contracted working hours, sick pay, holiday pay, overtime and more. Coming into contact with larger quantities of customers can also be challenging. You need to learn how to communicate most effectively with different types of people, how to cater to their tests and work out what they want. When it comes to taking on the best interests of staff and increasing numbers of customers, however, one area should always be a priority: the health and safety of your staff and customers. As the old saying goes: safety first! Here’s everything you need to know about the importance of keeping staff and customers safe and the best ways to go about it.
Protecting your finances
Let’s start with the impact that staff and customers’ health and safety can have on your company’s finances. Profit is, at the end of the day, probably the reason that you set up your small business in the first place and cash flow is the very thing that keeps it up and going. If an employee or a customer is injured or made sick while on your commercial property, you take on a large proportion of the responsibility for the incident. These individuals can then file a case against you and your company, claiming compensation. Take a look at Quittance personal injury lawyers’ website for specific details on where people can claim and the type of incidents that people frequently receive payouts for. Nowadays, more and more lawyers offer no win no fee services, as the chances that a case can be made against the business or commercial property owner are extremely high. So, if you want to avoid compensating large lump sums of cash, it’s time to start making your workplace a safer place to be.
Protecting your reputation
Your finances aren’t the only thing that can take a hit when someone files a lawsuit against you. Your reputation can be marred too. If you gain a reputation for insufficient and lax health and safety measures, there will be a severe knock-on effect on your business. Firstly, high-quality, well-qualified individuals are less likely to apply for positions within your company. At the end of the day, everyone wants to work for someone who values their safety and well being, and you won’t sell yourself well on this front if people are well aware of issues that have been raised to a legal level in the past. Secondly, customers will be less likely to buy from you, as more and more people are standing up for the rights of workers and consumers and will boycott companies who don’t make the mark. You don’t want your company’s name or branding marked with negligence.
Train your staff in health and safety
When you take on any staff members, you can help to keep everyone safe and sound by training every new staff member in various areas of health and safety. This is perhaps most effective when individuals are endowed with the relevant knowledge and information in a classroom style setting. They can then apply all that they have learnt on the job.
Your staff should know the correct techniques for lifting heavy loads. You should keep a wide base of support, squat down (bending at the hips and knees only), then maintain good posture (looking ahead with a straight back, chest out and shoulders back) and slowly lift by straightening your legs and knees. You should hold the load as closely to your body as possible, keeping it around the area of your bellybutton. Loads should never be lifted above the head. When carrying the item, use your feet to change direction and lead with your hips. When setting the load down, simply squat slowly and carefully. Again, you should only bend your knees and hips. This technique should be taught to all staff members. It could help to prevent pulls, strains, and back problems.
Fire safety procedure and equipment
Make sure that every staff member is familiar with your company’s fire safety procedure. Not only will this help them to vacate the premises effectively if there is any sign of fire, but they will be able to help your customers out too. Your commercial property should have fire exits clearly labelled and pointed out with signs that glow in the dark if the power happens to cut out. If your staff are familiar with these exit points, they will be able to guide others out who may be more panicked too. There should also be a designated meeting spot for all staff members to meet up at and be accounted for. Ensure that your commercial property has all of the necessary fire safety equipment at hand. This should include fully checked and regularly tested smoke detectors, sprinklers, clearly labelled fire extinguishers, and fire blankets in kitchen spaces.
While you only need one staff member at any given time to be trained in first aid, it’s a good idea to have as many employees as possible fully trained in the area. This could potentially save a life. Basic training can include CPR, the Heimlich Maneuver, treatment of minor bleeding and burns, treatment of sprains and strains, and treatment of bites and stings. Knowing the correct protocol in these situations can make all the difference to an individual who is suffering. You should also ensure that there is a fully stocked first aid kit at hand at all times in your commercial property.
Ensure your commercial property is secure
CCTV will help to protect you, your staff and customers by showing a full account of events in store. They can also be placed outside of your store to show any incidents that may include your storefront or other objects around your premises. The tapes can serve as evidence in cases.
Correct storage of hazardous products
All potentially hazardous products should be stored properly and out of the way of vulnerable individuals. Cleaning products, for example, are a necessity in any business space, but should be stored in a locked cupboard. This ensures that they are only used by those who are given the keys to access them for proper use.
As you can see, by training your staff effectively in health and safety and also ensuring that your commercial property is as secure as possible, you can protect your staff and customers. In turn, this helps to protect your profit and your business’ reputation. If you stick to doing things the correct way, it’s an all-round, winning situation for everyone involved. Perfect! So, if you have identified a few areas you need to improve on, it’s time to start making changes as soon as possible. After all, why leave a problem to develop when you can stop it in its tracks now?