Being a business owner involves ensuring that the workspace provided for employees is safe at all times. When the business that is owned is some type of retail center, the responsibility for providing safety extends to protecting the consumer. A variety of safety hazards can arise in almost any situation, in ways that may not appear to be unsafe on the surface. When it comes to business ownership, there are certain personal hazards that can almost be considered inherent, such as fire, potential falls, and lately the risk of injury by way of another employee or consumer has increased significantly.
Fortunately, there are steps that retail business owners can take in order to improve the level of safety for their employees and customers.
While fire hazards are prevalent in retail establishments, they are rarely assessed the gravity that they warrant. Factors that include faulty electrical wiring, improper chemical storage and open-flame displays, can easily contribute to the start of a fire or explosion. This is why it is important to take the appropriate steps to guard against allowing these types of hazards to present themselves.
Employees should be properly trained to recognize and report these fire hazards immediately. In the event that a hazard presents itself within the general retail space in which customers move about, it will be imperative to clearly mark off those areas. One way that the area can be marked off is with aisle marking tape. Because this type of tape needs to be highly visible, it will be necessary to use quality tape, a good source of information on choosing the right aisle marking tape is “Aisle Marking Tape 5 Strongest Tapes.”
When it comes to electrical wiring, employees should not attempt to handle them; that is something that should be done by a professional.
Air Quality Improvement
Air quality is another health hazard that tends to move under the radar of most retail business owners. Because air is not something that is visible, it can be completely missed if it is not integrated into the daily process of inspection. Inspecting air quality on a regular basis is vital, especially when considering the fact that certain hazards, such as carbon monoxide poisoning, are completely undetectable by sight or smell. There should be some type of air quality system on the premises that constantly monitors the quality of the air in order to ensure that it remains at a healthy level.
Proper Manager Support
Communication is actually a vital part of developing a functional and effective safety policy that is guarded by a well-defined protocol. This type of plan requires that proper support be provided for management. It is through the management staff that the company’s views on safety will be communicated and validated. Management is that medium that bridges the gap between the expectation and requirements of ownership and the retail-level employees. With the proper support for management, it will be easy to effectively implement the safety precautions and enforce all instated policies.
Visually Inspecting the Premises
While not all physical hazards are visible, conducting a regular visual inspection can identify a number of possible hazards before they cause injury. Some hazards that can be identified by a visual inspection include uneven flooring, misplaced boxes or other items on the floor that may cause someone to trip, spills on the floor that could cause a person to slip and fall. When it comes to spills, there should be a practice of mopping them up immediately, while clearly identifying the area of the floor that is wet, so others will recognize the hazard.
Guarding Against Crime
As mentioned earlier in this article, crime against employees and customers is becoming an increasing concern, and the business owner has a responsibility to provide a reasonably safe shopping and work environment for customers and employees respectfully. Providing safety from crime may involve the installation of additional surveillance equipment or hiring a security guard, but the idea is to take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of all who are on the premises.
Safety is a combination of training, preparation and consistent monitoring; it is an ongoing process that will likely evolve to meet newly presented challenges. The better the training that is provided to employees and management, the more effective the safety programs that are implemented will perform.
About the Author
Jimmy Underwood works in occupational health and safety and enjoys sharing some of his inside knowledge with the wider world by writing articles. These are usually published on business related blogs.