That first opening week of your business is going to be a very exciting time, but will also be extremely demanding on your part. Even though you’ve secured the start-up capital and have the keys to your premises, there’s still a lot to be done. As a business owner, you’ve got a huge responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of your employees. Below, I’ve listed a few things that every business owner needs to know when it comes to workplace safety.
Your approach to workplace safety, like a lot of things, needs to start with a comprehensive list. Make a list of everything you need to keep your business running, both tangible (equipment, stock, premises) and intangible (positive working environment, insurance, etc.) One commonly overlooked necessity is various smart and safe practices which need to be implemented around the premises. Come up with an intangible set of health and safety regulations which every employee needs to be aware of, along with tangible things like evacuation maps, fire extinguishers and PPE clothing if necessary. You can follow this up immediately by drafting a health and safety policy for the whole business, and going back through it to make sure you haven’t missed any crucial details. Busy employees can easily forget to wash their hands or wipe down surfaces. Colds can spread like wildfire in a small business premises. These are just a few of the big things that need to be part of your plan.
Next, invest in some high-quality chairs and standing desks. When it comes to start-ups, one of the biggest health and safety concerns comes from workers who are in a chair for eight almost unbroken hours. When you’re looking to buy office furniture, you might be tempted to stretch your capital by buying flimsy, cheap plastic chairs. You don’t need to pamper your employees. However, you do need to make sure they’re supplied with supportive and comfortable chairs. Neglect to do this, and you could wind up with an office full of people who are suffering serious back and posture issues. Another good thing to invest in is standing desks. This will allow your employees to adjust their posture throughout the day, without sacrificing anything in the way of productivity.
Finally, make sure your employees have a way of relieving stress. When someone says “health and safety”, we generally think of heavy-duty equipment in a steel mill or construction site, or trip hazards being left around the floor of an office. However, stress is also a very serious threat to your employee’s health which needs to be addressed. In all likelihood, there are various things which get your employees worried, and strain their mental wellbeing. It can be hard to talk about these things with your boss, so make sure everyone feels comfortable coming to you with these issues. Spend some time talking about stress in the workplace, and take suggestions for changes that will make everyone a little more relaxed. Put someone you can trust in charge of HR, and talk to your employees regularly.