Does your small business have a workplace health and safety plan? No matter what industry you operate in, every entrepreneur has a crucial role in ensuring their business is safe for staff. And it’s not just common sense; WorkSafeBC requires all small businesses to have an occupational health and safety program.
What is a Workplace Health and Safety Plan?
A workplace health and safety plan is a process for managing the prevention of work-related injuries and diseases in the workplace. The scope of this program depends on the size of your business and the hazards associated with your workplace. Generally, a small business can cover their policy and plan in a few pages.
Looking for inspiration on how to get started? These seven steps focus on the basics of creating your own workplace health and safety program. Let’s get started.
Getting Started on Your Health and Safety Plan
First, you must identify hazards in your workplace and take steps to eliminate or minimize the threat they pose. Types of common hazards in the workplace include improper storage of heavy-duty cleaning products, large machinery, heavy boxes stacked in an improper fashion, or trip hazards on the floor. Whatever changes you make, ensure they’re communicated clearly to your staff.
Inspect Your Workplace
After this initial audit, it’s critical to schedule regular inspections of all equipment and tools to ensure they’re well-maintained and safe to use. With workplace health and safety, there’s no place for complacency. Devote regular time to checking your processes and physical environment to identify ways you can improve safety and prevent accidents.
Train Your Employees
Your employees are key to the success of your workplace health and safety plan. They are the ones with the most exposure to the day-to-day operations of your business. They’re also most likely to be involved in a health and safety incident. Create a dedicated training plan for each new hire that prioritizes safety. Dedicate time to train existing staff on new policies and remind them of their important role.
Keep an Open Dialogue
Creating a workplace safety plan isn’t just a box to be ticked. Instead, meet regularly with your staff to discuss any issues they notice. They will be your eyes and ears when finding and fixing any issues. Empower them to share their ideas and thoughts on how to improve safety. Consider providing first aid training so they feel prepared for emergencies.
Accident prevention is your top priority. But should an accident happen, treat it as a learning opportunity. What improvements could you make to ensure it doesn’t happen again? How could staff be trained differently?
Keep a detailed record of all inspections, training activities, documentation, and first aid equipment. This information is key to helping you identify trends in unsafe conditions or work procedures. You can find a Health and Safety Log Book on the WorkSafeBC website, which includes easy-to-use checklists and blank forms.
Change How You Think About Health and Safety
Finally, change your mindset about health and safety. It’s just as important to a successful business as customer service, inventory control, and financial planning. Showing your staff you’re serious about their safety is a great way to boost retention and build a strong culture.
Find Out More
WorkSafe BC provides many publications and resources on workplace safety on their website, especially tailored to you the small business owner, including:
- Small Business Primer: A Guide to WorkSafeBC
- Small Business Health and Safety Log Book
- Small Business Safety Calculator
- Working Alone: A handbook for small business
- Small, Smart, and Safe: Basic Health and Safety in Small Business
Here to Help
No matter what stage of your business journey you’re at, Small Business BC has the resources you need to succeed. Check out our range of business webinars, on-demand E-Learning Education, our Talk to an Expert Advisories, or browse our selection of business articles.