Keeping Your Workplace Safe

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By - 30 June 2009

Whether it is on the television, on the billboard of a highway or taped to a wall at your local train station, most of you will be familiar with the new WorkSafe advertisements. If not, let me tell you they will make you cringe. Images of people with missing limbs, burns and other disfigurations, all caused because their work places were not safe.

 

If you are thinking of starting small business, you need to think about this and decide carefully what you can do to make sure this never happens, because as an employer you are legally required to provide a safe workplace.

 

Taking the First Step.

 

One of the first steps to ensuring a safe workplace is to put in place the right Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) procedures. Dealing with OHS when starting small business ventures can be a daunting task. There are so many Government rules and regulations to sort through, so many workplace requirements and procedures you need to be aware of that could cost you the life of your business, or worse the life of one of your employees.

 

A good place to look on the Australian WorkSafe website, each state has their own. This will give you an outline of laws, regulations and rights for employers and employees, and provide details about claims, insurances and the policies that you need to put in place.

 

Creating Workplace Policies.

 

Most policies will include two things:

 

  1. The Aim – this outlines exactly what you want to achieve
  2. The Policy – specifically what needs to be done to achieve this

 

For example, the purpose of a drug and alcohol policy will be to eliminate the use of drugs and alcohol while at work. The policy may include random drug testing and screening to achieve this.

 

If you are a part of small business management, you have the choice to write your own policies, or purchase pre-existing ones. Writing your own policy gives you the opportunity to be very specific with your aims and craft a plan that relates to your workplace.

 

However, if you are stuck for where to start, purchasing a policy is a great way to go and from here you can hire an OHS consultant to modify it for your business.

 

Human Resources in Business.

 

If you are still struggling to control this side of the business, you may want to consider hiring a business HR manager to deal with these issues. Business HR is an imperative part of small business management. It helps keep you, your employees and your workplace safe.

 

Having a manager in control of business HR means you can relax knowing someone is dedicated to creating a safe workplace. Their job will be to keep the business on track, resolve any employee issues and conflicts and create a healthy and safe workplace.

 

Creating Financial Security.

 

Keeping your workplace safe is not only about controlling the physical hazards in the office. You also need to think about the financial safety of the business. No one wants to be caught off guard by a clause in a contract that has been overlooked and end up in a drawn out legal process that will cost the business thousands of dollars and you a lot of stress and sleepless nights.

 

Small business management means taking control of this situation by putting the right templates in place and seeking professional advice. Although many of us loathe lawyers with their extravagant fees, hiring one is one of the best things you can do for your business. Get them to look over all contracts, financial and client agreements, and advise you on any uncertainties you may have. You are more likely to hit a home run if you have all your bases covered.

 

The Pros and Cons of Workplace Safety.

 

When it comes to a safe workplace, the pros really do outweigh the cons:

 

Pros

-          Safe and secure premises

-          Legally and financially covered

-          Happy and satisfied employees

-          Increased productivity

-          Less stress for you

 

Cons

-          Legal issues

-          Financial issues

-          Worry over the safety of your business

-          Unhappy and stressed employees

-          Physical injury

 

Although it may take a bit of time, money and research creating a physical, financial and emotionally safe workplace is worth it.

About the Author

George Butler
Raj Aryan has varied interest in the field of business. In particular, he has a keen interest in SME's and the challenges these businesses face. He has written numerous articles about small business.