Entrepreneurs whose businesses have been closed for the last 8 to 10 weeks have a lot to think about now that phased reopening is underway. It is understandable that much of their attention will be focused on meeting federal and state mandates intended to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. But let us not forget other workplace safety issues.
Some of the easiest safety issues to ignore are those that are also the easiest to address. Take slip, trip, and fall accidents for example. They are consistently among the most common in terms of personal injury liability claims made against businesses. In the effort to maintain safety, companies cannot forget about hazardous walking conditions.
Floor Mats at Every Entrance
A very good way to minimize the risk of falling is to make sure every entrance has a floor mat. Floor mats with a no-slip backing are meant to stay in place even when moisture is introduced. A good floor mat is also highly absorbent. It can help visitors maintain their footing even in rain or snow.
Floor mats are also a necessary item in industrial environments where chemicals can make floors slippery. Wherever workers walk, care has to be taken. Floor mats can prevent the same kinds of slip and fall accidents by giving workers a no-slip surface on which to walk.
Quick Attention to Cleaning
Hand-in-hand with floor mats is a quick attention to cleaning. As soon as something is spilled on the floor, someone should be there to clean it up. This might mean not waiting on the maintenance crew to react. Sometimes other staff members have to step in and begin cleaning up while waiting on maintenance to arrive.
Alsco says that the key to fast and attentive cleaning is having the right washroom supplies on hand. A string mop and mop bucket offer a good starting place. Other kinds of mops can be helpful, too. They should be supported with the right cleaning chemicals determined by the environment they will be used in. Even things as basic as paper towels and a cleaning solution spray can be a lifesaver.
Keeping Walkways Clear
Obstacles in walkways sometimes lead to slip, trip, and fall accidents. They never should. OSHA guidelines specifically stipulate that walkways in places of business be kept clear of obstacles. The rules are not ambiguous.
Regardless of the type of business, ownership should keep walkways clear of obstacles at all times. Nothing should impede safe movement around the floor. In industrial environments, this means keeping machinery and equipment out of the aisles. In a restaurant, this might mean spacing tables further apart. In a retail environment, it means keeping aisles clear of products.
Identifying Hazards with Signage
There are those times when hazards cannot be completely eliminated. In such cases, identifying hazards and alerting passersby via signage is a necessity. Note that there are certain kinds of signs required by OSHA under certain circumstances. Such signs are non-negotiable.
In cases where hazards are only temporary, signs and barriers are often appropriate. A good example might be a store aisle in which one of the floor tiles has come loose. The area around the loose tile can be cordoned off with some pylons and yellow caution tape and a sign posted to alert shoppers of the hazard.
Coronavirus is going to be a safety concern for the foreseeable future. Yet it is not the only concern business owners have to worry about. As America slowly reopens, let us not forget all of those workplace safety issues that existed before coronavirus was a thing.