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