Making Workplace Safety A Priority

Would you ever hop in your new car and drive away – without insurance? Aside from the fact that its illegal, we all know the answer is no, and why is that?

Because accidents happen.

Bad things happen, and insurance is a prudent investment against that possibility.

Well, what I want to remind you of today is that you never know when your business may be faced with an emergency or other event in which the need for safety and emergency preparedness will be needed. And having the right emergency and safety products is akin to having insurance – you hopefully will never need it, but you sure are happy when you do.

Personal example: Several years ago I was in Cleveland during the anniversary of the great east coast blackout of 2003. You remember that huge event, right? It was the second largest blackout in history, affecting some 45 million people over a 48 hour period. In New York, emergency services responded to 80,000 calls for help, 3,000 fire calls, and overall, and businesses lost millions of dollars.

Yet one company that not only survived, but thrived, during the crisis was Zagara’s Market, where I was on that anniversary. Says owner John Zagara, “During the massive blackout of August 2003, the power went out mid-afternoon. But our back-up power system automatically switched my electrical source to a natural gas-powered generator which ran all registers and refrigerated equipment.”

Zagara’s back-up power equipment enabled him to not only continue serving customers and sell them emergency goods, but also, he was able to save his valuable perishable foods like ice cream, meats, and frozen foods. As a result, during the emergency, the market became the hub of the community, a distinction it has yet to surrender.

Such weather-related events are only becoming more common. In fact, due to the severe winter on the east coast this past year, more than 50% of all small businesses reported that they had to close for at least a day.

All of this is a good reminder that you never know when an emergency may strike and if you are not prepared, you may in fact end up out of business. As we all know, the weather is getting fiercer, and that means, you need to be ready. According to the 3rd annual Workplace Safety Survey by Staples, the top three safety concerns for small businesses are

  1. Slips, trips, and falls
  2. Natural disasters and storms
  3. Fire

I recently interviewed the National Safety Sales Manager for Staples, Bob Risk. Bob told me that all offices need to have two things, at a minimum, if they wanted to be safe and ready for potential problems.

The first is a safety preparedness plan. This would include plans for continuity of business operations in the case of an emergency, evacuation plans, contingencies, phone trees, and so on. This plan needs to be well thought out and shared with all employees.

Second, all offices need some sort of emergency kit. My friends at Staples make stocking up your kit easy. It should include:

  • A first aid kit
  • A hand crank flashlight
  • Matches
  • Water
  • Fire extinguisher

The bottom line is that it is better to be safe than sorry. Prepare for that possible emergency today. You will be glad you did.

RELATED: How To Keep Your Warehouse Workers Safe

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