Accidents damage employee morale. If you work for yourself, one accident can completely derail your income. Insurance can help, but avoiding accidents is a much better plan to keep your business humming along.
Hire A Cleaning Service
Bringing in a professional cleaning service is critical to keeping things tidy. Give your employees time to declutter and organize at the end of each week so your cleaning crew can come in and manage dust and dirt.
Dust and dirt may not sound like a big deal, but a good cleaning service can let you know
- where tripping hazards stack up
- which taps never quit dripping and are likely to fail
- which drains are slow and could create a messy backup
A good cleaning service can monitor your space and let you know where hazards are chronic. You may have employees who are incredibly creative but consistently messy. Their workspace can be allowed to be a shambles, but you must keep them accountable for cleaning up walkways, particularly around trash containers. If you must, get a divider screen and shield the rest of the office from their mess.
Do Background Checks On Drivers
Anyone who drives for your business needs to have a valid driver’s license, a safe driving record, and the proper training to drive your vehicles. If you have 30 employees and only 5 need to drive your company van or truck, create an add-on to your new hire onboarding process that includes an agreement to notify HR of any changes to their driving record.
Even if your company vehicle doesn’t require a CDL, tickets and traffic violations can lead to restrictions or revocations of their license. Your drivers need to notify HR if they receive a serious traffic violation. You may choose to reassign them after such an infraction, but if they try to hide it, you may want to make it a terminating offense.
Set Up A Maintenance Schedule
All of your shop equipment needs to be maintained regularly. Just like your home HVAC, filters need to be changed. Everything wears out eventually. Talk with your maintenance director about the minimum and maximum timeframe for each major tool in your facility and create a calendar that you can post.
If you don’t have a maintenance director, do your best to get on a regular rotation of bringing in maintenance professionals. For example, you may have a specific cutting tool in your shop. Not only do you need to keep the cutting tool sharp, but you need to make sure that the parameters of your cutting or layout table are as accurate as possible.
Get your entire team involved with your maintenance calendar. If purchasing is bringing in a large order of raw goods for a long run of a particular product, have your inspectors go through the tools that will be used for that product run. Downtime is expensive. If your employees push a tool past a safety check and something breaks, the costs could be astronomical.
Carry Extra Insurance
If your business is a one-person shop, you may be using your business vehicle as your daily driver. Make sure that you do your best to keep your business and your personal banking information separate. Talk with your insurance agent and your attorney about the best liability insurance in Arizona or other states you operate from, both for your business and for your vehicle.
The physical address of both your business and your home may have an impact on how much you have to pay to cover your vehicle, business, and possessions. If your business is run out of your home, you can lower your own personal risk by having a PO box where all your business documents can be routed. This will also allow you to use the PO Box on your business cards and lessen the risk that an unhappy client or an opponent, depending on your business, will show up at your house.
If you are the sole supporter of your family, consider also adding business interruption insurance. For example, if you live in a tornado county or have to temporarily relocate because of a forest fire, interruption insurance can keep your income steady until you can get back to work.
Set Up Regular Training
Keeping yourself and your employees protected often includes learning how to use new machinery or how to work in a new configuration. Make sure that your payroll budget includes time and money for
- safety awareness training
- safety gear
- new tool training and certifications
Set up and post rules about safety gear. If you require certain levels of training to work on or around a particular machine, keep a list of approved employees on the gear and celebrate when an employee completes the training to get added to the list.
Unfortunately, you may need to set up disciplinary tools for folks who have no business using those tools. Loop your senior managers and your HR department into this process; make sure that your onboarding of new employees includes training about tools they are not yet allowed to use. You may want to set up a verbal warning system followed up by a written warning, but make sure it is documented and that employees sign off on these rules before they step on the shop floor.
Put safety gear beside the door to hazardous areas. If people in the shop have to wear safety glasses, hang a shelf or tray on the wall or door loaded with disposable safety glasses. If folks have to wear a hard hat, put a sign on the door and make sure everyone working for the business has one assigned.
Nobody goes to work expecting to clean up after an accident. We pay for insurance all the time in the hopes of not needing to use it. Keeping things tidy and organized will reduce the risk of a slip and fall. Putting all of your employees on the safety team will increase buy-in.