You can prevent small business failure through safety improvements.
By Russell Hoppe
As employers, we are responsible for the safety and security of our employees. We are expected to keep a safe and healthy workplace as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This includes “abiding by standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.”
For many, this is a challenge, and can be a significant one, at that. This is especially true for smaller businesses on tighter budgets, which is likely one of the reasons why the rate of occupational accidents are higher in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). According to recent study by a US Davis researcher, the estimated national price tag of occupational injuries and illnesses reaches $250 billion annually. This, of course, comes right out of the pockets of the affected businesses, which can easily mean the difference between profit and loss, success and failure.
3 Tips To Safety
To help ensure your business doesn’t become a statistic, here are 3 tips to improving your chances of success through safety:
1. Create a Proactive Culture of Safety
In order to encourage and enforce a work environment where safety is a priority, a proactive culture of safety must be created. Cox and Cox define this as “the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values that employees share in relation to safety.” Developing this takes clear, consistent communication on a regular basis, as well as examples set by senior management that exemplify proper attitude and action.
2. Provide Continuous Education on Safety
Continuing education is a great opportunity for management to instill not only the right values, attitudes, and beliefs, but also to provide the message it wants employees to hear directly from the company on safety and related topics, rather than allowing room for second-hand information. In addition to proper training given to management, all employees should receive on-the-job safety training upon entering the workplace. This should be followed up at regular intervals (e.g., every quarter), providing an opportunity to enforce existing messages while relaying and ensuring comprehension of new ones.
3. Use Intrinsically Safe Products and Equipment
The choices you make in which products to use on the job can have a huge impact on safety efforts, and in some cases, remove some of the burden associated with inherent risk. This is especially true when considering those associated with jobs deemed hazardous or dangerous. In these cases, the use of intrinsic equipment is a must.
Intrinsically safe is defined as: “not…capable of releasing sufficient electrical or thermal energy under normal or abnormal conditions to cause ignition of a flammable or combustible atmospheric mixture in its most easily ignitable concentration.” In other words: explosion-proof. And, even though your work environment may not be hazardous by OSHA standards, there’s obvious benefit to having equipment and products on the job which you know are purposely created for the level of safety they add to any situation.
As Sir Edward Coke, barrister, judge, and opposition politician, once said, “Precaution is better than cure.” This is absolutely true when it comes to on-the-job safety. It is what will help ensure your business is properly positioned to face risk, reduce the amount of exposure to the consequences of risk, and increase chances for long-term profitable growth. And, what small business owner doesn’t want that?
About the Author
Russell Hoppe is the Marketing Manager for Bayco Products, Inc., a Wylie, TX-based manufacturer of professional and intrinsically safe lighting products, all under the NIGHTSTICK® brand. This includes the company’s latest release, the XPP-5422 Intrinsically Safe Dual-Light. With a cETLus safety rating, and ATEX, IECEx, and MSHA certifications, the XPP-5422 is now the highest rated intrinsically safe dual-light on the market today.
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