By Scott Huntington
As a small business owner, there’s a lot you must think about. You have personally invested your life into your business, and there’s a lot of pressure on you to make sure you keep the company afloat not only for your sake, but for the sake of the employees who rely on you for the career you created for them.
With all this pressure on you to keep the company moving forward, you may have forgotten something paramount to your office and the health of your employees — office safety. Here are five tips on how to promote safety in your office!
1. Equip Your Employees for the Task at Hand
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is not equipping their employees properly for the job. It would be common sense to supply a welder with tools to weld — and the same applies to your office personnel.
Be sure to take a close look at what each of your departments and employees are actually doing. Does each department have the tools they need to complete their daily tasks? Here are a few things to consider for each department:
- Information Technology: Do they have the right cables, tools and software in their inventory to provide support to the company’s infrastructure?
- Accounting: Do they have robust business calculators, accounting software and the collaboration tools necessary to properly track your finances?
- Sales: Are they limited in any way by your phone plan? Do they have the tools in place for a sales funnel system?
- Maintenance: Does your maintenance crew have the tools they need to keep your office running and fix any emergencies that may pop up? Are they wearing the right clothing to protect them from common hazards of building maintenance, including live electric wires, fire from furnaces and other heating equipment, and water from the buildings water system?
When you get your departments the tools and equipment they need, or if they’re already in place, ensure the employees are using and storing them safely. Making sure your employees are correctly equipped for the job keeps them safe, happy and productive!
2. Evaluate the Office Space for Health Hazards
After making sure your employees are properly equipped, you should make sure the space in which they are performing their job is safe for everyone. Here are a few things to check around the office to ensure everyone will have a safe work environment:
- Walkways: Check to make sure that all the walkways, especially the major walkways and emergency exits, are clear of boxes, filing cabinets, trash or other obstacles. You want to ensure your employees have every avenue they need to exit the building in case of a fire or any other disaster.
- Shelving: One of the most overlooked safety hazards in an office is shelving. If you are storing heavy boxes full of records on shelves, those shelves are likely to loosen up over time. The last thing you want is for a heavy box to fall from a loose shelf and injure one of your trusted employees.
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Check to ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries and are functioning correctly. These detectors can truly save your employees’ lives in the event of a disaster.
Ensuring the environment of your office is a safe one will help you stay prepared for the worst. In the event of a fire or another emergency, you’ll be glad you took a few moments to make sure the office environment allowed for quick evacuation and minimized the long-term effects of the situation.
3. Create a Disaster Plan
When disaster strikes, it’s usually unexpected. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared by having a plan in place to protect your employees and your business if something happens. Create a written plan and review it with your employees, so they know what to do when an emergency occurs. Nothing exacerbates a crisis like panic — prevent this from happening by training your employees on what to do.
4. Check on Your Employees
One thing that not only promotes safety in the office but also creates a strong office cohesion is checking on your employees’ mental health periodically. Sometimes, business owners can get caught up in the day to day operations of the business and forget that their employees are people, too. Asking your employees how they’re doing and letting them know they can come to you with any stressors or problems will help them to feel valued, reduce stress and improve health and safety overall through the office.
5. Advocate for Safety
While office safety is not always at the forefront of a business owner’s mind, it is an important thing to consider and advocate for. Providing the proper tools and equipment to your employees, performing periodic safety walkthroughs, creating a disaster plan, and checking on your employees’ stress will help ensure your office is a safe and healthy work environment for everyone.
When you’re running a business, you owe a large portion of your success to the people you have working for you. Be sure to take care of them in at least the most basic way by providing a safe, healthy environment for them to work in every day.
Scott Huntington is a writer from Harrisburg PA. Find his work on Business Insider, Yahoo Autos, Time, INC, and more. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.