Safe Small Business Starts Here

Safe Small Biz Starts Here

Updated April 3, 2016 . AmFam Team

Creating a safe and supportive workplace can make the difference in your ability to grow your small business dream. Get your team on board in 10 simple steps.

Yes, we know − the words “workplace safety” often result in a collective groan. But believe it or not, creating a safe and supportive workplace can make all the difference in your ability to grow your small business dream. Empower your team using this simple guide: 

Create a disaster plan. You hope you’ll never need it, but having one can protect you, your workers, and your business in an emergency. Your plan should include processes for how to:

  • Report an emergency
  • Determine roles/responsibilities in an emergency
  • Handle evacuations or injuries
  • Plan for business continuation

And be sure to share it with all employees so you’re all on the same page!  

Mark emergency exits and shelters. As part of your Disaster Response Plan, you’ll want to mark exits to use during severe weather, fire or other emergencies, as well as the places your team should go in these situations. Creating a map to those locations and having them clearly marked helps everyone stay calm and safe and if these routes are needed.

Say ‘yes’ to security smarts. Does your business have a secure entrance?  Your protocol could be as simple as having locked doors with employee access only, or a receptionist greeting guests and calling the employee they’re visiting. You may also want to consider on-site security for after-work hours. When developing your security strategies, try to think about your employees and customers. How will you keep their personal information (such as credit cards, transaction records, address details, etc.) safe?

Test emergency alarms & your team. It’s smart to get in the habit of testing your alarms and practicing your Disaster Response Plan twice a year so that new and existing team members are reminded of what to do in an emergency. Some workplaces even choose to simulate emergency situations. During these tests, you can review actions taken, suggest changes and make sure everyone’s empowered to act safely.

Provide training on equipment or machinery. A good training strategy – including Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training – will include proactive safety training for all types of learners (visual, kinesthetic and auditory) so the information can be retained when the training is over. 

Huddle for first aid training. According to the American Red Cross, the average response time for emergency responders is 8-12 minutes – so it’s smart to empower your team to help one another in a crisis. Hire an expert to run your team through a basic first aid and CPR training. It’s also worth installing an automated external defibrillator (AED) and making sure everyone knows how to use it. When it comes to basic first aid supplies, OSHA requires your workplace to have them.  Show the team where they’re stored, and set an alert on your calendar every few months to check and replace items that are running low.

Stress less. Happy employees are the best employees!  Creating a plan to curb stress at the office keeps your operations more productive – and can translate to a better bottom line.  Encourage your managers and teammates to offer empathy and support whenever they see signs of stress. Some businesses take time off the job to do volunteer work, fun team-building activities, etc. Brainstorm ideas as a team and make a day of it!

Set up for healthy. It’s not at all surprising – many workplace injuries aren’t related to workplace accidents at all. Instead they can result from repeated activity in positions that don’t support the body. Whether sitting at a desk, typing on a computer or driving a forklift, it’s important for your team to have access to ergonomically-appropriate equipment and workspaces.

Break out. In order for your team to put their best work forward, they need opportunities to clear their thoughts and recharge. By creating a flexible culture where team members are free to take breaks or short walks during the day, you’ll find staff to be much more refreshed, happy and able to focus.

Befriend local police. It’s always smart to stay connected with first responders like your local police force. Get information on how they can protect you and your team in an emergency, and ask about any crime trends they see in your area.

Putting these ideas into place will help you protect your growing business dream and give you peace of mind that your team will be prepared. For more tips, tools and expert advice for growing your small business, visit our Business Accelerator Program. (Opens in a new tab)

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