Starting and growing a successful business can be incredibly rewarding. However, there are some challenges that come along with owning a business that are often overlooked. One of these challenges is maintaining a safe business area free of potential hazards. There are certain hazards that you should routinely check for when you own business property.
Structure fires are one of the leading causes of property loss in businesses across America. It is important for you to take the necessary steps to save your property from the possibility of structure fires. First of all, you need to be able to identify the fire hazards that might exist on your property. Examples of fire hazards are; machinery that could overheat, work that includes high friction and heat like grinding or welding, electrical equipment, industrial ovens or heaters, boilers, machines using flammable gasses or liquids, or even an excess of flammable materials. As you are performing a walk-through in your business, note each of the fire hazards that are present in your company and seek to find a way to ensure more safety in the workspace. For example, keep flammable materials away from any kind of machine or electrical equipment, keep a fire extinguisher nearby at all times, or have a coolant system for machines that could overheat.
Currently, wet floors lead to the most workplace injuries in America. As simple as a damp or wet floor can seem, it can lead to big injuries and big issues in a workplace. A wet floor could lead to slipping, tripping, and falling, which often causes broken bones, concussions, and other injuries. There are lots of ways to combat slippery floors. If it is a rainy day outside, make sure that you have an absorbent floor mat near all of the entrances where employees can wipe their wet feet. If a custodian has just mopped the floor, use equipment that could help to dry the floor, such as a fan, a towel, or a dry mop. If someone in your business is getting up on a chair or ladder, make sure you dry the floor first to ensure their safety. Although this seems like a simple issue, an abundance of caution can keep your employees safe.
One of the biggest hazards in the workplace is carbon monoxide. It is silent but deadly. Carbon monoxide can cause significant and serious health problems for people who are exposed to it. The tricky thing about carbon monoxide is that it can be hard to identify without already having a detector or alarm installed. It is a gas that doesn’t have color or odor, so most people who are exposed to it don’t even realize it. However, it can cause mild to severe symptoms including nausea, headaches, drowsiness, vomiting, brain damage, or even death. Some of the simplest ways to ensure that your employees aren’t exposed to carbon monoxide is to install a detector, utilize a ventilation system, and avoid using fuel-run equipment in tight spaces.
Although you may walk past sidewalk cracks regularly without thinking about them as a health hazard, they can truly be dangerous. Particularly in areas with heavy winter weather, large sidewalk cracks are likely to develop. A cracked sidewalk can easily trip anyone who gets their shoe’s toe or heel caught, and could lead to broken bones and other injuries. It is important to upkeep the concrete around your business property. A worker might be able to pour cement by hand in areas of smaller cracks. Pump trucks can haul concrete onto your site to redo larger areas. If you maintain your sidewalk year-round, you’ll reduce the risk of falls and injuries.
Vehicles can be a huge safety risk not only to their operators and your employees but also to nearby civilians and pedestrians. People involved in vehicle accidents can be seriously injured or killed. Make sure to properly train the employees that will be operating business vehicles so they know how to drive cautiously and defensively. Especially if you are operating big vehicles on your property, such as tractors, trucks, or busses, make sure that your workers know to take proper precautions around vehicle areas. Setting up signs and designating vehicle areas can help with that awareness.
Having small, tight, confined spaces in your workplace can present a lot of safety risks. As previously discussed, confined spaces can be dangerous because of risks associated with gas poisoning from carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, or other gasses. Workers in confined spaces could also be presented with risks of falling, slipping, or even being crushed or buried by falling material. Workers could also become claustrophobic in the space. They could lose access to sufficient oxygen and suffocate. If it is necessary to have a confined space in your workplace, you must make sure that there is sufficient ventilation and clear, open exits.
Machinery with moving parts presents a lot of safety hazards. Body parts or clothing could easily get caught in or hit by moving parts of machinery. If you work in any kind of workshop or lab that involves heavy moving equipment, you must train your employees before they use or come near the equipment. You also want to make sure that they wear protective guards such as goggles, hard hats, and even protective clothing or gear.
Unfortunately, violence is a growing safety hazard in many workspaces across the world. Violence in the workplace can occur in the form of physical assault, but also includes sexual harassment of any kind, as well as verbal or emotional abuse. It is important to screen your employees when hiring them and to perform background checks when necessary. You also want to be vigilant in observing how your employees interact with each other. Although this won’t prevent all incidents of workplace violence, it is one of the things that you can do to ensure the better safety of your employees.
In conclusion, there are lots of safety risks and hazards in the workplace that you should be aware of. Safety is one of the biggest priorities for people, and as an employer or business owner, you need to do all that you can to ensure the safety of your employees and clients. Make sure that you routinely check for each of these hazards so that you can make sure that your work property is always a safe place to be.
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