The smaller a company, the riskier its workplace risk.
A single serious accident or fine can have a disastrous effect on a small to medium-sized business (SMB) operating on a tight budget.
If the company (or an employee) is negligent, an accident can expose an SMB to crushing civil judgments, fines, increased insurance premiums, and legal fees—possibly even criminal liability. Even without an accident, a visit from a regulatory agency (OSHA, Ontario Ministry of Labour, etc.) can result in substantial fines for failing to meet minimum requirements for mitigating workplace risk.
That’s why anyone who has an ownership stake and/or is responsible for managing workplace risk in an SMB shouldn’t be satisfied until they are confident that:
- All personnel have been adequately trained in general workplace safety, as well as safety for their specific roles
- Workplace safety policies and procedures are clearly defined and continually communicated to personnel
- All workplaces are compliant with applicable safety regulations
- Personnel have the tools necessary to keep the workplace as safe as possible
- Workplaces and equipment are continually inspected to ensure they’re safe.
Protecting Against the Risk
The day-to-day pressures of operating an SMB can easily result in insufficient attention paid to managing that risk. The company’s leaders gnawingly worry about what could go wrong, but they feel they can’t take the time or spend the money to do anything different than what they’ve been doing. They’re just hoping for the best, playing Russian Roulette.
A failure to act is often due to uncertainty about how to begin. Do we need to better train our personnel? Should we strengthen our safety policies and procedures? Do we need to have stronger enforcement of inspections? Do we need to inspect more things?
The answer to all these questions could be “yes,” and that could be overwhelming. A company’s leadership might not know where to start.
We suggest considering audit/inspection software such as The Checker Software, which has a multitude of features designed specifically to improve audit and inspection processes, thereby mitigating workplace risk. In addition to enabling more-accurate audits and inspections, this software can be used to teach, communicate, and enforce policies and procedures. And its reporting features can provide company leaders with the information they need to be confident in their business’s management of workplace risk.
Whatever you do, do something. Make a decision about how to reduce workplace risk, and start doing it.
The Bottom Line
Workplace risk is such a major threat to SMBs that it’s bad business not to make it a top priority, and owners and executives who are worried about their business’s workplace risk shouldn’t delay in addressing the issue.