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6 Tips To Improve Workplace Safety

By Generational Equity

Workplace Safety

When you’re busy managing a company, it’s easy to overlook potential safety risks and the possible liability these risks represent.

Several sound business reasons exist for devoting time to building a safe workplace, such as:

  • It may help reduce insurance costs. Measures such as requiring warehouse workers to learn safe lifting techniques or improving exterior lighting tend to pay off.
  • Employee retention improves since workers feel valued.
  • Recruitment is easier if your workplace is known to invest in workers’ safety.
  • Depending on the industry, many clients now require safety compliance from their vendors as a condition of doing business.

Every business has slightly different needs when it comes to safety. However, once you focus on workplace safety, you can take steps to minimize your company’s risk. Here are six simple, cost-effective ways to reduce your company’s vulnerability and keep your workplace and your profits safe.

1. Document your safety plans and procedures.

For many businesses, documenting safety procedures doesn’t have to be complicated. Depending on your industry, all you may need to do is keep a list of employee contact numbers updated so that managers can easily reach their people in the event of bad weather or any other emergency. Other basic safety measures include:

  • Make sure access codes and other vital information is shared with more than one person and is recorded in a secure place.
  • Perform and record equipment safety routines as needed.
  • Keep first aid kits freshly stocked and handy.
  • Change security codes regularly.
  • Document any emergency disaster plans.

Starting from scratch with your safety efforts? The U.S. Department of Labor Office of Labor and Health Administration (OSHA) offers businesses a wealth of free workplace safety resources.

2. Keep your place tidy.

Nothing discourages troublemakers like a tidy workplace. While it may seem minor, keeping your buildings, landscape and worksite clean, neat and in good repair tells potential thieves your business is likely to be as well guarded as it is well tended. This means you should:

  • Keep all windows and doors in good condition and clear of signs and posters. You want to create a fishbowl effect so that employees can see out and spot potential danger.
  • Don’t stack furniture or boxes in front of windows. This provides a means of escape in the unlikely event of a fire and makes your office look clean and organized.
  • Install working cameras over all entrances and exits, and anywhere money is handled or stored. Depending on your business, cameras in the server room may be advisable too.
  • Keep all parking areas and all four corners of buildings well-lit.
  • Make sure all buildings are regularly painted and maintained, and fences are secure.

Appearances alone may be enough to discourage lawbreakers, as well as give you and your employees a workplace to point to with pride.

3. Listen to your employees.

No manager can be everywhere and know everything. That’s why you should listen to your employees when they express concerns about workplace safety. Use your team as extra pairs of eyes, since they may see things you didn’t notice, such as:

  • Suspicious people hanging around your building or work site.
  • Dark rooms or parking lots that need more light.
  • Slippery floors and other workplace hazards.
  • Equipment that needs to be locked-down.
  • Equipment that needs maintenance to be operated safely.
  • If they’re uncomfortable walking to their cars after dark.
  • Colleagues who are severely stressed or distracted.

To promote a safety culture, be sure to thank employees for bringing issues to your attention rather than fussing about the cost of repairs or additional security measures.

4. Handle money safely.

If your business handles cash regularly, you probably already follow basic safety precautions, such as varying your time and route to deposit the cash.

To reduce the risk of embezzlement, establish clear, consistent rules for how much cash employees may access or handle at any one time; what documentation is required and when to record the intake or outflow of cash; and where and how much cash should be stored on site.

5. Train employees to work safely.

You may already train your employees to recognize phishing attacks sent by email, but do you train them in other aspects of workplace safety?

Depending on your industry and location, you may need to remind employees to wear protective clothing, keep their employee badge visible, drive company vehicles safely, walk to their cars in pairs, and more. It’s also a good idea to develop and communicate procedures for what to do in the event they receive a suspicious package, face an upset customer, or find unauthorized personnel in a secure work area such as your server room.

6. Don’t tolerate bad behavior.

People tend to underestimate the cumulative effect that long-term stress from bullying or threats can have on their workforce. What’s more, many company leaders are uncomfortable confronting bad behavior, thinking that a shouting match between employees will blow over, or that a raging client is just having a bad day.

In reality, studies show such behaviors are often precursors to more extreme behavior, even violence. That’s why workplace safety experts recommend you adopt a zero-tolerance policy and call the police immediately if a customer or employee becomes threatening or aggressive. It’s also important to be aware of and stop any bullying or intimidation going on in your workplace.

Enhancing the value of your business

Giving some thought to your safety plans and procedures reassures potential buyers that proper precautions have been put in place to ensure the health and continuity of your company.

Following these six suggested steps will also better position you when negotiating with buyers for your company. Buyers loathe risk and liability. Having documented (and followed) safety procedures will give them peace of mind that the company they are acquiring is a safe work environment from day one.

About Generational Equity

If the idea of casting a wide net for buyers intrigues you and the concept of an equity firm possibly being in your future is novel, then you need to attend a Generational Equity exit planning conference soon.

Our meetings are designed to educate business owners on all facets of buyers and M&A activity today and going forward. The time you spend there will be well worth the investment when you decide the time is right to sell your business.

To learn more about Generational Equity and our conferences, please use the following links:

By Jessica Johns Pool.

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