Here’s the typical storyline for a small business – Someone has an idea and a passion and they turn it into a business. With hard work, skill and a lot of luck, the business grows and the owner hires a few people. Putting a real safety program in place takes time and distracts the owner from the things he wants to do with his business, so chances are he lets them slide. Companies can go years without a true safety program. I know one company that has gone 30 years like that. Works great, at least until someone gets hurt, OSHA comes calling or a customer cuts them from its vendor list.
If you know a small business like that, here are two articles you need to share with them:
The Real Value of Making Your Workplace Safe – In this article,author Joe Worth looks at safety as a cost-savings measure and does a great job of showing how a lackluster approach to safety eats into profitability.
What Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Worker Safety – Author Phil LaDuke looks at the big picture of how accidents can cost companies in ways that an owner might not consider, including the toll it takes on customer relations, insurance rates and company image.
The bottom line is that most entrepreneurs didn’t start their businesses to spend their time worrying about safety meetings, PE and paperwork. I would say that most of the small business owners I know:
- Feel a lot of loyalty to the employees who helped them build their businesses and would never knowingly put them at risk.
- Consider OSHA compliance to be a lot of red tape and a pain in the neck.
The problem is you can’t separate those two pieces. Doing right by employees means taking responsibility for their safety and, the fact is, that means following the rules when it comes to safety.