Not having a workplace safety manual puts your business in jeopardy. In the U.S. most employees are covered by a federal law, the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces the legal mandate of this Act. One of the main items OSHA recommends for businesses is a workplace safety manual.
In some cases business owners view this manual as a low priority, an expense they can do without, or a nuisance. But, there's no getting around it: You need one.
Here are some of the most important reasons why your company must have a workplace safety manual:
1. Your Insurance Company Requires It.
Some companies cannot get insurance if they do not have a workplace safety manual. This is a huge risk to take considering that your business faces any number of dangers on a daily basis. These dangers include theft, fire, vandalism, employee injury, or law suits for negligence.
Not having a workplace safety manual could also affect your business' ability to get workers compensation. This is a form of employee insurance; without it, your employees could sue you for any on-the-job injuries.
2. A Government Body Requires It.
Laws regarding workplace safety manuals vary from state to state. To be on the safe side, you should find out if it's mandatory in your state for your type of business to have one of these manuals. If it is and you get caught without it, you could be fined or put out of business.
3. It Helps You to Create Workplace Health and Safety Policies.
A general workplace safety manual or one specifically for your industry acts as a useful guide to keep your business and employees safe. It also helps you to comply with government health and safety statutes so you don't have to worry whenever an OSHA inspector pays you a visit.
4. It Keeps Your Employees Safe.
Your workers are the most important part of your business. They deserve to be protected. This doesn't just apply to companies with high-risk environments such as those with toxic materials or machinery. All companies benefit when their workers are healthy and safe.
A workplace safety manual reduces the cost of paying higher worker's compensation premiums because of high injury rates on site. It also reduces your cost to hire temporary workers to replace injured or ill workers, or to rehire for a position if a disgruntled employee leaves because of unsafe work conditions.
5. It Saves You Money.
Reduced workforce cost isn't the only way a workplace safety manual saves your company money. You could face some stiff fines and expensive legal fees if your business is found to be committing any health and safety violations. OSHA has different classifications of workplace violations and penalties - "Other than Serious Citation," "Serious Violation," "Willful Violation," and "Repeat Violation."
Fines can range from up to $7,000 for an Other than Serious Citation, to over $70,000 for a Willful Violation, which is the most serious violation an employer can commit. A workplace safety manual educates you and your health and safety team to meet the necessary requirements to avoid these hefty fines.
A safety manual also minimizes workplace hazards and damage to your business, which costs money to repair, delays production, and may push up your insurance rates.
6. You Want A Government Contract.
Federal contracts can be quite lucrative, especially for small businesses. However, you may not be able to land one of them without a workplace safety manual, which you may need to submit with your bid.
Consider the low cost of buying a manual versus missing out on a well-paying government contract. You'll see it's a worthwhile investment in your business.