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Business Sense

5 Workplace Safety Tips for Small Businesses and Startups

Safety may not be the sexiest part of running a business, but it’s an essential one. No one wants to work in an unsafe environment. And no company wants to be responsible for putting the life and well-being of its workers at risk.

While you can’t prevent every accident, there are some steps you can take to minimize the chances of one happening. Here are five workplace safety tips that can help keep your small business or startup safe.

1. Make safety rules accessible and visible.

Your workplace should already have some safety measures in place. But having them in the rule book isn’t enough—you need to make them accessible to employees as well. Take the time to summarize your rules in a concise, clear list before posting them in several visible places as a reminder and precaution for all employees.

2. Get employees on board.

The job of keeping everyone safe becomes easier when your employees care as much as you do. Rick Goggins, an ergonomist with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (DOSH), said that one of the best approaches is “to create a thorough ergonomics process that involves employees in finding hazards and development solutions to control them.” Encouraging safety awareness helps employees stay mindful of their surroundings and be on the lookout for any potential dangers.

3. Cultivate team-oriented accountability and communication.

Regardless of position or title, every employee should be a safety officer. If something is potentially unsafe, anyone should feel empowered to say something before it’s too late. There truly is no price on the value of safety for all employees.

4. Avoid shortcuts.

With orders to fill, customers to satisfy and other to-dos piling up on your desk, it’s easy to be tempted to compromise safety in the name of expediency. But according to Arbill, a leader in industrial safety products, that kind of “get-it-done-quickly” attitude is the cause behind many accidents. No matter what, encourage employees to follow proper procedures despite how long it takes.

5. Practice emergency preparedness.

Safety training should be a part of your onboarding, team building and continuing education Doing so will help employees familiarize themselves with safety procedures and allow them to develop a set of solid strategies to respond effectively in the event of an emergency.

Sometimes an accident will happen despite your best efforts. If one does, you’ll be glad to have workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage for injury or disease sustained by your employees during the course and scope of their employment, regardless of negligence on your part. If you have workers’ comp coverage through Erie Insurance, you may be able to access a staff of risk control consultants that can provide you with a variety of risk control and safety services for your business. To learn more about workers’ comp coverage from ERIE and to get a free quote, contact an Erie Insurance agent in your community.


Tom Reddon is a Forklift Specialist and Blog Manager for National Forklift Exchange. He also sits on the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association Executive Dialogue team. Connect with him via Twitter at @TomReddon.

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