We’re sure your workplace isn’t a health and safety nightmare, but if you have customers coming into your premises frequently, it is essential to check where safety improvements can be made.
By doing so, you will protect the health and wellbeing of everybody and have greater peace of mind when your customers are wandering around the inside and outside of your business premises.
By meeting health and safety standards, you will protect customers, and you will save yourself from financial harm. As all business owners know, any accident or injury on your premises could instigate a legal claim.
Here are some safety tips we hope you find useful.
Consider your business exterior
Many businesses have outdoor areas for their customers to explore and congregate. Some will have play areas for children to play in as this can be of great support to parents who need to get on with their shopping. Others will have car parks, outdoor eating areas, and product browsing areas for outdoor goods. If any of these scenarios apply to you, it is vital to consider the following.
To protect customers, you should:
- Install lighting if your business is open during late hours
- Have your ground resurfaced if it is uneven or broken
- Erect fencing to prevent customers from wandering into dangerous areas
- Install commercial rubber tiles to prevent nasty bumps if children have access to a play area
- Remove clutter to avoid any falling hazards
- Get rid of any toxic plants that may be growing within the exterior of your business premises.
- Clean up broken glass and any other pieces of litter that could prove to be a safety hazard
This list is not exhaustive as there may be other things you need to do. Walk around your business exterior and risk assess everything to ensure safety for your customers.
Deal with slip and fall hazards within your business premises
Accidents happen, and they won’t always be your fault. Unfortunately, those customers will purposefully try to instigate an accident to take advantage of a compensation claim. As such, you should remove anything that can tempt them into causing problems for your business. Of course, there are instances when you (or your employees) may be to blame for accidents, so you should always deal with any hazards immediately.
Such hazards can include:
- Products that have fallen to the floor
- Broken or loose tiles
- Liquid spills
- Slippery surfaces after cleaning
- Equipment cables
- Food spills
Where possible, you should remove or manage any hazards as soon they appear; this way, there will be nothing causing your customers to slip or trip while on the premises. When it comes to cleaning, you should also put up signage to protect customers from slippery surfaces, and where possible, you should place barriers around the affected areas.
Maintain your business premises
A well-maintained business is a safer business, so don’t postpone any repairs that need doing. Instead, these should be a priority when there is a risk to the health of your customers, such as issues with mold and dampness that exist on walls and floors and areas where accidents could be likely.
- Remove mold and provide adequate ventilation to counter the problem
- Check to ensure shelving fixtures are well-secured
- Replace or repair doors that fit loosely on hinges
- Check your roof for loose tiles, as these could hit somebody when there is a strong wind
- Replace loose or broken floor tiles
- Check for loose electrical wiring
It is good practice to walk around your business premises daily to check for any maintenance issues. It would help if you did this on both the interior and exterior, as any number of issues can cause a repair problem, such as vandalism, weather damage, and accidental damage from either a customer or an employee.
Protect customers from fire hazards
According to fire statistics, over 100,000 fires occur in commercial properties annually. Such fires result in property damage, injury, and loss of life, so you will understand the need to protect your business from such a catastrophe. It would help if you also considered the financial cost of your business. According to the statistics, we linked you to, fires in commercial properties cost owners over an estimated $2.4 billion per year. As you will understand, for financial and physical reasons, a fire could result in the loss of your business.
To protect customers from fire hazards, there are many things you can do. These include the following proactive steps.
- Keep towels, fabrics, and other flammable items away from your heaters, lamps, and places where there may be an open flame
- Check for outdated electrical sockets and replace them when necessary
- Arrange for repairs to your electrical appliances when they prove faulty
- Ask an electrician to check the electrical wiring around your business
- Insist on a no-smoking rule, for both customers and employees alike
- Install smoke detectors and check them regularly
- Install a fire alarm system
- Make sure you have fire extinguishers on standby
- Install a fire suppression system, such as a sprinkler system
- Replace flammable pieces of business furniture
You should also instruct your employees on matters relating to fire safety. This is especially important if there is a particular risk of a fire at your business, perhaps because you have kitchen areas or because you sell electrical goods to your customers.
There’s quite a lot to consider here, we know, but to protect customers, you shouldn’t overlook any potential hazards. If you do, you could be held responsible for any accidents and injuries, and as we have mentioned already, this could cost your business dearly.
So, be vigilant. Even the most minor thing could be a safety hazard, so it is wise to keep your eyes open. Talk to your employees too, remind them of their safety responsibilities, and ask them to report any safety hazards to you or their supervisor should they see or create potential risk.
We haven’t had the space to mention every safety hazard here but consider your business and the specific risks to the health and wellbeing of your customers. Then, add these risks to your “to-do” list and deal with them as soon as possible.