Knowing the ins and outs of your business is an important aspect to success, but do you know what’s going on behind the scenes — in your warehouse, or out on the shop floor? There are many facets to being in the equipment dealers industry, and one of the most important is the health and safety of your employees. Are they operating in their day-to-day work environments to the best of their abilities? And above all else, is your shop in top-tier condition — are your employees following a strong, up-to-date risk management plan — to help allow for work to get done in the safest manner possible?
There are many things that can be done to help keep your workplace safe, and that includes making necessary updates to your risk management plan. If it has been a while since the last time you made those updates, now is the time to act. Walking through your workplace on a regular basis with a checklist — note things that are being done correctly, areas that need work, and areas with significant changes that may pose a risk if left undocumented in your plan — is a good place to start. Ensure that any problem areas are handled swiftly and appropriately.
Conduct frequent training sessions, or toolbox talks, to ensure everyone is updated on changes to the risk management plan. Work with your team to come up with solutions for a safer workplace, and take their input into consideration. As you walk your shop’s space, seek out the right places to post up-to-date safety signage and reminders where they will be easily seen. Above all else, leading by example can help demonstrate the value of safe working habits and conditions.
Communication is Key
Communicate with your employees — what do they see going on as they work? Do they, or you, see areas that could be improved upon to enhance safety? As upgrades are made to your workplace, bear in mind that those changes should be reflected in your risk management plan.
Pay attention to items such as:
- Keeping floors open and clean
- Utilizing proper lighting in poorly-lit spaces
- Properly using ladders, forklifts, or operating heavy machinery
- Cleaning up any and all spills promptly and in a safe manner
- Labeling materials correctly and clearly
- Ensuring that employees are wearing the proper protective gear.
In addition, it may help to look for ways to make work less physically demanding by using the right tools and machinery, thereby reducing unnecessary strain on your employee’s bodies. Conducting a Job Hazard Analysis on the tasks your employees perform may help identify where enhancements can be made.
Grow With Your Risk Management Plan
No two businesses are the same, so it’s important to understand that one size may not fit all when it comes to creating a risk management plan for your business. Whatever your specific needs are, remember that a solid foundation is key. As your business grows, make sure that your risk management plan grows with it. Update it as necessary to comply with any applicable OSHA standards or other relevant regulations to help meet the specific parameters of your business.
Solid procedures, policies, and risk management practices are essential. The tricky part is that the outcomes of a good risk management plan are difficult to measure. When everything goes right, it is harder to provide examples that prove the effectiveness of your efforts. But think about it this way: a chunk of your profits can disappear and morale can sink every time an employee slips, strains a muscle, falls, or fails to follow company policies and procedures. Whatever your company’s approach, the success of any safety initiative is dependent on the support of owners and management. Start there, and continue to work with your employees to help them better understand exactly how important it is to follow, and continuously update, a strong risk management plan.
Federated’s mySHIELD® offers plenty of information on how to help you create a risk management plan, and other resources for employees and business owners alike, as well as sample checklists specific to machine guarding, walking areas, hazard communication, and more. Reach out to your local marketing representative for more information on risk management resources that could help to benefit your business — and help to keep your shop space safe for everyone.
Article Written by: Jerry Leemkuil
Equipment Dealer Specialist Jerry Leemkuil, Federated Mutual Insurance Company