Running a business requires organization maintenance. One important but easily overlooked factor within any work environment is cleaning. No, not tidying up the books, but actually cleaning the areas where you and your staff get your job done. For businesses in the restaurant industry, health standards dictate that cleaning must be done daily, but who should be doing it?
Basically, you have two choices: your staff or an outside contractor. To many, having staff members clean the workplace seems like a no brainer. Workers can devote what seems like a little bit of their time to tidying up, or outright scrubbing (depending upon your workplace), and money can be saved on a cleaning service. You know who to go to in the event that something is not cleaned to your standards, and you can avoid the fees charged by a cleaning service or staffing company. But have you really fully evaluated the costs versus the benefits of hiring a cleaning service? Tracking their charges is easy: you look at the bottom of the invoice. But can you track what you lose when you assign your staff to clean your space?
Outsourcing Is a Good Idea
Even if you break up the responsibility of cleaning an office or restaurant kitchen among multiple staff members, you might be losing out. If your staff is scrubbing a floor or cleaning a bathroom, they aren’t calling on customers, making sure paperwork gets filed correctly, or even getting extra prep work done for the busy weekend you have coming up. This means you are either not getting your core tasks completed or risking paying overtime so your staff can finish both their jobs and the cleaning.
Additionally, you might be hurting morale. People who apply to work in one position do not want to be told that they are also the cleaning crew. Even in the restaurant industry where getting your hands dirty is expected, cleaning bathrooms is not. Making staff break from their core job functions and clean will cause some employees to feel degraded, even bitter. Once this happens, you can expect a shoddy cleaning job followed by some poorly performed core job functions. All of these negative factors can be avoided by contacting a cleaning service or better yet, a competent staffing company that can provide staff to clean on a scheduled basis.
If you outsource the cleaning, you help your business stay focused. When employees have to work in several different aspects of the business, they tend to produce less quality work. It is not because they are lazy or do not care, but if a person has to shift focuses multiple times per day, it becomes hard to get into a groove and concentrate on being successful. You might be losing out on some creative ideas and extra attention to detail if you decide to have your staff come off task at certain times of the week in order to clean.
This argument works for literally every industry. It is better to have employees focused on a particular set of tasks. Cooks should worry about cooking and maintaining a clean workstation, and mail room clerks should be on top of properly distributing mail and delivering messages. It might seem like a good idea to reassign a lower-level employee to cleaning, but in the end it is almost always a bad one. Once you realize how cost effective outsourcing can be, especially in combination with better morale and productivity of your core staff, you will see that it is actually an investment that pays out.
Thinking about hiring a couple of high school kids to fill some part-time positions for you? For some businesses that makes sense; some positions that need to be filled carry a relatively low level of responsibility and autonomy. These positions also only need to be filled part time and might even warrant slightly lower wages than some of your more technical positions. This position might be a hostess or a busser at a restaurant or even someone who hands out fliers for an income tax operation that is about to see an influx of business. A minor might make sense for your open position. If so, you must be aware of some of the child labor laws that we are subject to here in Arizona.
Child labor represents one of the few areas of employment regulation that is subject to oversight from both the federal government and the Industrial Commission of Arizona (they do a lot of the work here in Arizona that OSHA does from a federal standpoint in other states). The Industrial Commission states that businesses are subject to two separate sets of laws. If these laws ever conflict, you must follow the stricter law. If one entity has a law or restriction pertinent to a particular topic but the other does not, then you must follow the guidelines of the agency that has the law. Basically it goes like this: if the Fed says that minors cannot work before 7:00 am (which they do for minors under 16) and the state says they cannot work before 6:00 am (which Arizona does), then you must follow the federal law because it is stricter than the state law. If the Fed didn’t restrict the hours that minors can work, but the state did, then you would be bound to follow the state law and would not be able to legally defend yourself by citing a lack of federal guidelines.
Facts You Need to Know
- Youth under 16 years of age cannot work more than 3 hours on a school day—if they are enrolled in school—while school is in session, or more than 8 hours per day on a non-school day. If they are enrolled in school, they cannot work more than 18 hours per week when school is in session.
- Youth under 16 years of age cannot work before 6:00 am or after 9:30 pm if they have school the next day. If they do not have school the next day, they are not permitted to work after 11:00 pm. Youth who are not enrolled in school cannot work before 6:00 am or after 11:00 pm.
- No youth under 16 can ever work more than 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week.
- Generally positions that require driving are not suitable for minors by law. The exception is that 16- and 17-year-olds can drive up to 2 hours per day or 25% of their shift (whichever is shorter), but cannot drive large vehicles.
- Youth cannot operate heavy machinery. There are a couple of exemptions, but it is advisable to think about your liability before ever considering actually doing this. This means that in most cases, manufacturing and construction position are not suitable for minors. Other restrictions speak specifically to youth not being allowed to work in positions such as roofing and demolition.
- Parental permission is not needed in order to employ youth. Meanwhile parental permission, even in writing, does not allow you operate outside of regulations.
- You must verify the age of youth who are applying for a position with you. It is not considered age discrimination to ask youth their age. Age discrimination applies to 40- to 70-year-old applicants.
- You can, and will, be fined for violations of these labor laws that are brought to the attention of either regulating body. The state dictates that the maximum financial penalty that can be assessed is $1,000.00 per infraction. You can of course contest a fine as long as you do it within 20 days of issuance.
There are Some Loopholes
- If the minor is involved in or has completed a career education or vocational/technical training program recognized by the Department of Education pursuant to Title 15, Chapter 7, Article 5, the minor is exempt to some of the restrictions. Construction and manufacturing-based employers may be able to use this parameter when employing minors.
- You may also be able to work around regulation if the minor is in an apprenticeship program approved by the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training. This might allow youth to work on a construction site in a limited capacity, and at the very least it helps to limit your liability.
Did that sound like a lot of rules? Compared to the actual set of regulations that is just the tip of the iceberg.
For more Federal guidelines click here to review more laws to make sure you are in compliance.
To brush up on Arizona’s additions, you can visit the Industrial Commission’s website.
If you would rather skip the headaches associated with all of these rules, contact Labor Systems Job Center and we will work with you to send over the right workers who will solve your staffing problems on a part-time or full-time basis. We can meet your needs throughout Arizona from Tucson to Kingman.
Workplace safety can be enhanced or undermined by a variety of factors. One such factor is employee substance use and abuse. In an ideal world, this topic would not be an issue, but let’s be honest: substance abuse is a factor in society that sometimes finds its way into the working world. As an employer, you must be on the lookout for anything that could cause your operations to be less efficient or that might lead to an accident. Substance abuse is closely tied with both of these negative outcomes, so it is important to consider the subject when organizing your business.
In Arizona, drug testing is not required by law–with the exception of a limited number of particular job descriptions. By and large drug testing in our state is at the discretion of the employer. According to state legislation drug testing can legally be used:
- To help screen an applicant before hiring
- To terminate a current employee who test positive for controlled substances
- To suspend an employee (with or without pay) who tests positive for controlled substances
If you plan to drug test your staff, there are some considerations that you need to make as an employer. You are responsible for certain things associated with the testing and could be held liable for privacy issues
Requirement to Consider
- Screening facility- You must select a drug screening facility that is approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the American College of Pathologists, or the Department of Health Services to ensure accurate testing by a facility that meets certain sanitation and scientific standards.
- Types of tests- You can require staff to undergo screenings that require samples of “urine, blood, breath, saliva, hair or other substances from the person being tested.” (Arizona State Legislature) The type of test used is at the employer’s discretion.
- Confirmation- If a candidate or employee does test positive for drugs or alcohol, you are required to have a second confirmation test performed to rule out the possibility of a false positive test. The confirmation test must be a different form of drug screening than the original test.
- Privacy- Regardless of the results of the screening, you cannot share them with anyone except for the employee/candidate; internal employees who are directly associated with the human resource or management functions directly concerning the screening results; or an outside arbitrator or judge who may be brought in to settle a dispute. Otherwise nobody–not internal employees or anyone else who might have an interest in the employee–is allowed to know the results of the test. If you go afoul of this point of law, expect to lose a lawsuit.
- Transparency- If you choose to screen employees you must be up front about your policies. Put it in writing in your employee manual and take other efforts to ensure that your staff is aware of your substance use/abuse policies. You must inform your staff of:
- Who can be tested
- How they will be tested with a description of the procedure
- Substances you test for
- Implications of a positive drug test (what actions you will take as an employer against staff who fail a drug test)
- A confidentiality statement
- The employee’s right to be provided with the results of the screening
- The consequences of refusing a test
This is a basic overview of the drug screening process in Arizona. These are statewide regulations, so an employer in Tempe is subject to the exact same laws as one in Flagstaff or Phoenix. If you would like a full listing of regulations feel free to consult with the Arizona State Legislature. If you would like reliable staff who can show up at a moment’s notice, consult Labor Systems Job Center online or call 877-522-7797. We will work with you to provide candidates who have been drug screened if that is your preference.
Your core offerings provide a foundation upon which you build your business. To really strengthen your business and bottom line, you must add in other elements that do not relate to your core functions. One of the most important of these elements is customer service. Often customer service is the difference between turning a one-time customer into a regular, or even retaining a long-standing client who is weighing his options or faced with budgeting decisions. The name of the customer service game is pleasing clients, leaving them smiling and thinking fondly of the relationship that you have built with them.
Even in today’s digital environment we still have an intrinsic need for human contact and relationships. This need is the basis of customer service and provides you with multiple means of building your business. Taking the time to get to know your customers and setting some standards within your business, from the management team all the way down to part-time staff, will allow you to build customer relationships that you can capitalize on. This is a necessary focus for any industry, regardless of whether you serve individual patrons at a restaurant or focus your efforts on business-to-business operations.
Factors to Consider
Customer service involves talking to your customers, making sure you solve their problems, planning for future opportunities to serve them, and finding ways to constantly improve your business. You need to consider the value of customer service when:
- Hiring staff- Your employees interact with your customers. You might be the best communicator in the world who leaves everyone you meet with a sense of fulfillment–but if the people who talk to your customers aren’t, then you have a problem. Without friendly and attentive waiters, most restaurants will fail before they can get off the ground, and customers expect to speak with a pleasant and accommodating administrative assistant when they call your office. Come see us if you need well-trained and friendly staff on a temporary basis or even if you need a permanent hire.
- Tip: A well-focused hiring process will bring you good employees. Improve customer service by reinforcing the company’s dedication to satisfying customers; allowing staff to attend seminars or internal training that focuses on customer relations; and giving employees enough autonomy to do whatever it takes to make an upset customer a smiling brand ambassador.
- Using a Head-on Approach- Face customer complaints and problems head on. Talk to the customers immediately to let them know you are addressing their concerns immediately. Then you must actually do it. The most humble apology along with great interaction that leaves the customer happy in the short term is worthless if you do not fix the problem.
- Tip: Collect feedback as often as possible. Doing it face to face allows you to address the issue right away and show customers that you want everything to be perfect for them. Feedback collected after the fact–via surveys, emails or the occasional angry phone call—is also useful. Follow up with customers as soon as possible and let them know that you intend to fix the problem. If you use written surveys, be sure to get contact information.
- Accepting calculated change- Some people are afraid of change, as it may alter the focus or mentality of your staff while taking time and money to retrain your employees. A calculated change, however, is beneficial because the end result is improvement. Anything that makes you better is worth taking the time and maintaining an open mind.
- Tip: Be on the lookout for problem areas within your customer service. If customers aren’t getting food fast enough at a restaurant, evaluate your operations from how quickly servers take and enter orders all the way down to how long it takes to expedite a plate. You know your business better than anyone, so identifying problems should be fairly simple. Once you have grouped several complaints into a problem area, think of the ways to fix it that will make customers the happiest. In these cases, the most cost effective way is not always the best way.
A customer-service oriented business can thrive even in harsh economic times. Yes, sound financial policies and putting out a great product must be addressed also, but customer service helps you to directly maintain your revenue stream. It doesn’t matter how innovative your products and services are if this stream dries up.
Employees expect that they will be duly compensated for their time and efforts. While most immediately think of salaries and wages, any manager or employer can tell you that compensating employees goes far beyond a paycheck. Employee benefits are yet another way that employers “pay” their staff. Many employees and job seekers evaluate benefits along with financial compensation when choosing a place to work.
Popular Employee Benefits
Some Will Cost You
- Paid time off- Who doesn’t like a vacation? That is what you should be asking yourself when deciding whether or not to provide your staff with paid time off. While many wage positions do not receive this benefit, it is a great perk that consistently ranks at the top of the popularity list with employees. You can predetermine your employees’ days off, or you can elect to let employees choose their days, depending on personal preferences and the industry you are in. While it might not make you happy to have staff out, you can always find reasonable ways to cover their absence.
- Paid sick leave- This benefit is also very popular with employees. While you can require that employees use paid time off to cover illness, allowing a conservative number of sick days can be a good way to show labor that management understands real-life situations.
- Health insurance- Currently this issue is up in the air. Our nation may or may not have regulations requiring health insurance for staff in the future. Regardless many employers already offer health benefits. While employees pay for part of this benefit, health insurance represents a considerable expense on your balance sheet. As you provide coverage for more staff, your cost per employee will decrease. Be sure to ask your accountant about the best way to write off this expense and reap any additional tax benefits that might be available.
- Retirement plans- This is possibly the most expensive benefit an employer can offer. There are a lot of diverse retirement plans for employers to choose from, so if you do want to offer this benefit you can find the plan that best meets your goals and keeps your costs in line. Most employers match their employees’ contributions, up to a certain percentage of income. This benefit used to come in the form of a pension, but as we have seen it is financially impossible to pay all of your staff decades after they have retired, no matter how great of a philosophy it is.
Some Benefits are Cost Effective
- Flex Time- This benefit is not for every employer. It allows your staff to choose their own hours. If you can make this concept work for your business, it is a great way to make employees happier that does not cost you very much. In the hospitality industry, you have the opportunity to provide this benefit due to the hours that your business must be open. If you can swing it, then it also works out very well in office environments. Unfortunately this benefit cannot do much for the construction industry, since employees must work together while they have sunlight.
- Telecommute- People hate traffic and the rat race. Some employers can help ease this burden by allowing their full-time staff to perform some of their job functions from home via the internet. This is another cost effective benefit, but bear in mind that you need trustworthy staff and a solid IT department to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Employee benefits are a great way to improve employee relations and show your full-time staff that you care. Considering that they usually represent another cost for you, it might be a good idea to find other means of saving a few bucks when it comes to employee-related expenses.
At Labor Systems Job Center we work diligently to take as many potential compliance and regulatory issues off of the hands of employers as is humanly possible. As many employment-related compliance issues as we can handle for you, we are unfortunately unable to address every piece of regulation on your behalf.
Our partners who operate in the hospitality industry know that any business that serves food is subject to regulation by the Office of Food Safety and Environmental Safety. This governing body inspects and certifies that restaurants and other establishments that serve food and drink adhere to sanitation standards, which ensure that their customers are safe from foodborne illness.
If you would like a comprehensive view of these regulations, they are kind enough to provide a PDF which details standards and compliance issues. If you are running a business and limited on time we will refresh you on some of the main points of compliance.
Compliance Issues Related to Food Safety in Arizona
- Accountability- Your business will need a “Person in Charge” who has been certified by the state. This person–you or a manager–is responsible for knowing all aspects of food safety, from proper storage, to the right food handling techniques, to appropriate employee hygiene. Technically someone with this distinction must be present during all business hours to oversee your staff and operations as they relate to food safety.
- Employee management- This is where prepared temps can really pay off. Your “Person in Charge” is responsible for overseeing the staff and how they interact with food. Technically your staff must be forthcoming about any injuries or illnesses that they suffer from before you can allow them to work around food. Your “Person in Charge” is also responsible for verifying that your staff maintains acceptable levels of personal hygiene both in preparation for and during their shift.
- Storage- Food storage is extremely important. Not only must particular foods be stored on particular shelves (no vegetables below raw meat of course), but you must also label the packages according to food type, date, etc. Food packaging is also an issue, as anything in a tainted or otherwise damaged package must be noted and removed from food storage and obviously not served to customers.
- Contamination- Bacteria spreads fairly easily and invisibly. You are responsible for stopping the spread of bacteria and containing any potential outbreaks through proactive actions and educating your staff. The state breaks down sources of contamination as follows:
- Contamination from hands
- Contamination from tasting
- Contamination while separating, packaging and segregating food products
- Contamination from ice– including proper ice machine setup and drainage
- Contamination from lack of washing (mostly vegetables)
- Contamination from equipment, utensils and linens–you will need to know the different standards and uses for utensils made from different materials as well as proper dishwasher maintenance.
- Contamination by consumer (This applies to food products used as a display and to buffet situations.)
- Presentation- Your health inspector also wants to verify “food shall be offered for human consumption in a way does not mislead or misinform the consumer.” This means that coloring or wraps cannot be used to change the appearance of food and that verbiage is plain and understandable.
- Verbiage- When presenting food to guests, you must use plain and common names to identify the food products. You must also include reminders about food that may be served undercooked or raw and the dangers that might accompany such food.
Being in compliance with the state is not only good for your guests, but necessary to keep your license. We realize that these issues keep you busy on a day to day basis. If you need some more time to cover these compliance issues and are in need of additional staff, visit Labor Systems online to see how we can help you.
The opinion of many economists and business leaders in Arizona seems to be that this year marks a year of economic re-growth. It definitely will not happen overnight, but there should be definable improvements for everyone. The construction industry deserves attention when talking about an improving economy because they have felt the harsh effects of the recession as much or more than anyone else. Building development characterized the economic boom that led up to the recession, and trouble in the real estate markets were the first factors cited when the recession was being defined.
Tens of thousands of workers in Arizona depend upon a healthy real estate market to make a living. What opportunities await this hard working segment of our state economy in 2011?
Optimism in 2011
- Commercial Sector- A recent post by the Phoenix Business Journal cites commercial property as a real opportunity for construction companies in 2011. Favorable corporate tax rates and competitively priced leases are making Phoenix–and other cities in Arizona–a location that cannot be ignored by large businesses. Arizona is geographically located in the West but comes without the price tag that many of our neighboring states have, making Arizona a formidable West Coast distribution point or headquarters. While there probably won’t be a lot of bids taken for new construction next year, you would be advised to look out for all of the remodeling work that will be out there. When large companies move in, they will need offices and manufacturing facilities redesigned to suit their needs. Commercial build-outs should keep a lot of contractors afloat in 2011.
- Home Segment- Opinions are mixed, but many in the real estate market are predicting 2-3% increases in home values in most states, not just Arizona, next year. As this happens people will begin to have a little more faith in the economy and likely some extra disposable income to go with it. Again, new development is less than likely, but contractors will again have the opportunity to get into the renovation market. Many people will probably stay in their homes longer from here on out, making remodeling a very enticing prospect for consumers so long as they can get a line of credit for the renovations.
Coaxing businesses from other states will be instrumental in an upturn for the building industry statewide in Arizona. New companies mean more work, not just for the construction industry, but for everyone else as well, once the local economy starts to churn a little faster. With thoughtful decisions and a focus on growth, 2011 should be a better year for employers from Tucson to Tempe.
The end of the year is here. We hope you were able to minimize any losses that might have occurred in 2010 and are putting together a sound strategy for 2011. By most predictions, next year should be a lot better for businesses than this year, as the economy continues on a slow but seemingly steady uptick. Let’s take a look at some of the facts and predictions that are in place, which should make doing business in 2011 less stressful than it was in 2010.
2011 Positive Outlook
- The WSJ Economist Survey predicts a 3% increase in GDP (sum of all goods and services produced within the United States) in 2011.
- The survey also indicates a reduced prediction that a double digit recession will occur to 15%; the number was at 22% in September.
- Economists polled in the survey also estimate Increases to be experienced especially by those businesses that operate in retail sales and manufacturing.
- 80% of CEO’s involved in the Business Roundtable predict sales increases in first half of 2011.
- 59% of CEO’s involved in the Business Roundtable expect to increase their spending on equipment (great for the manufacturing industry).
- A payroll tax cut pertinent to Social Security taxes will be granted to employees (employers will not experience a reduction in the amount that they match), which puts more disposable income in consumers’ hands, which should be immediately felt by the hospitality and retail industries
These predictions provide a basis for a lot of optimism for business people in 2011. The economy should be growing, which will present more opportunities and hopefully in the long run, more customers. To be fair there are some predictions for cost increases that will directly affect business owners.
Potential Cost Increases for 2011
- Materials- As the economy rebounds, basic supplies and resources are expected to become more costly. This could especially impact commodities, which include everything from oil to copper.
- Health care- While health care reform is still not set in stone, it would be unwise to not calculate a cost increase here.
- Labor- Hiring is expected to increase, so with it comes more salaries, payroll expenses, taxation matching, etc.
As you can see, economists and CEO’s alike seem to be predicting more good than bad on the horizon. While that is great news, 2011 will still require a steady hand and a carefully prepared plan for business owners. Two of the anticipated cost increases are pertinent to labor and health care. Both of those increases will directly affect your bottom line and will be financially measurable the first quarter that you start bringing on new people. There is no reason to be too pessimistic; after all bringing on additional staff means that you are growing and on your way to increased profits.
Taking a cautious approach to hiring will be the best way to grow while reigning in your company’s spending. Using temporary labor might be just the answer you are looking for. Think about the advantages of temps when you need to be cautious with spending.
- No money spent on recruiting-Save yourself from paying for job listings, paying to interview, and paying current staff to take time to perform both of those functions.
- Predetermined expenses- Temps come with a set fee and we take care of all of the extrinsic costs like payroll and taxation matching.
- Simple to terminate unnecessary employees- If your predictions are a bit optimistic and you decide that you don’t need that much staff, it is easy to reduce payroll costs by simply using fewer temps, as opposed to laying off a new hire.
We wish everyone the best in their financial endeavors in 2011. If you are looking for ways to save money and time while you grow, feel free to give us a call at 1-877-522-7797. We can tell you how to save on staffing throughout Arizona, from Phoenix to Flagstaff.
Running or managing a business can be a very rewarding experience, especially if you are the type of person who thrives on change. Management can provide opportunities to showcase your flexibility and ability to think on your feet. While overcoming obstacles can be very rewarding, sometimes business presents us with opportunities that are double-edged swords. Yes, they might be an opportunity to grow and develop, but they might also be coupled with hurdles that must be bested in order to take advantage of the opportunity.
In many cases staffing is a hurdle that must be jumped. Think about what can happen to your staffing situation, literally overnight, if:
- You suddenly gain a large customer or an existing customer suddenly places a huge order
- You are presented with a time sensitive opportunity
- A large number of staff defect to a competitor simultaneously
In any and all of these cases a reliable staffing agency is your best means of fixing the situation. They will allow you to remedy your staffing problem in a very short amount of time, usually the amount of time it takes to make a phone call. Staffing agencies pre-screen candidates and have a list of capable employees who can work on short notice. This is their whole business model. If they could not sufficiently supply this service then they would not be in business; it is as simple as that.
What to Look For in a Staffing Agency
It is understandable that you might be a little apprehensive about bringing in temporary workers for certain assignments. If you ask around, colleagues who have used temporary labor to their advantage will likely be able to tell you about the benefits and assuage your fears about trusting a temporary agency. Be sure to ask them to recommend a company that has:
- A solid history in the staffing industry
- A variety of temporary workers that will allow you a little more flexibility in choosing your new staff members
- The ability to send staff over the very next day if needed. Even if this isn’t what you need, it shows that you are choosing a company that has superior customer service and is prepared to fill any overnight gaps that might arise in the future
- Will allow you trade out workers hassle free if you feel that a different temp might be a better fit for you
- Enough reach to help you at all of your geographic locations. If you have offices in Phoenix and Scottsdale, it is beneficial to select a temporary service that can help you in both cities.
Tips for Using a Staffing Agency
Now that you are comfortable using a temporary service to fill your emergency staffing needs, take a couple of tips that will help you to effectively work with a staffing agency and use their services.
- Know what you are looking for. The staffing agency will be far more likely to set you up with the right workers if you can be specific about what you need from the standpoint of workload to be accomplished and skill set necessary to do the work.
- Build a relationship early. Emergencies develop very quickly and it will be helpful to have a relationship with an agency that you like. Maybe start out by using an agency to cover a vacation or to send over a couple of temps to help you decide whether hiring on full-timers is worthwhile.
- Expand your relationship. Talk to your representative at your staffing agency about your current and prospective needs. They will be able to help you to determine what it will take to cover your temporary staffing needs and get a better idea of which temps will work out best for you.
We understand that as an employer you care about the safety of your workers. Workplaces can present employees with danger on a regular basis if they are not prepared and planning for safety. While some work places present more dangers to workers than others–the construction industry accounts for more job related fatalities, 22%, than any other industry–every workplace needs to think about safety.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration oversees on-the-job safety on a national level. Locally the Industrial Commission of Arizona is the governing body that actually inspects our businesses and enforces national and local laws. Arizona is the only state with an independent group that performs inspections and enforces regulation. While their main offices are in Phoenix and Tucson, we all know that they have a presence throughout the entire state. They are responsible for evaluating workplaces. You may have been subject to an inspection in the past. They concentrate inspections on businesses that operate in industries that are traditionally and statistically considered to be more dangerous than others. Outside of those industries they target businesses that they feel have a high number of workers’ compensation claims. Their inspection will ensure that you are in compliance and will help you get on the right track if need be. (This link will lead you to printable versions of safety posters that you need to display in your business–we must all focus on compliance)
How Do I Increase On-the-Job Safety?
The best way to maintain a safe work place and limit employee accidents is to plan to be safe. There are many factors that you should consider. Begin by focusing on:
- Employee training and education- It is vital to make your employees aware of the dangers that may be present in their work place. Every industry is different; however everyone can benefit from training.
- Fully train staff who use heavy equipment or even lighter duty equipment that may be able to cause injury.
- Don’t just focus on new staff. Have follow-up safety training sessions at least annually to stress how important it is.
- Stress the importance of safety equipment–whether it is eye protection on a construction site or cut gloves in a kitchen–to every employee and make safety equipment readily available.
- Workplace design- The physical layout of your business can have a lot to do with safety. Organize your work environment so that it accommodates safety and accommodates back-up plans in the event of an accident. OSHA mandates that any general industry employer incorporate:
- Hazard communication standards that inform employees of chemicals in the workplace. If you have dangerous chemicals around, you are required to have a written Hazard Communication program, among other compliance necessities.
- An emergency action plan that tells your employees what specific actions they must take in the event of a fire or other accident or emergency. You will communicate this to your staff during training sessions.
- A plan for exit routes. Decide upon the safest way for employees to file out of the building. Post the plan in writing and communicate it verbally.
- Safe walking/working surfaces. Slips and falls account for more on-the-job injuries than any other type of accident. Use non-slippery surfaces to cover floors and keep them clean, dry and clear of clutter that might cause a fall.
- Medical and first aid supplies and planning are a must. The extent of the supplies you must have on hand depends upon your specific industry, but everyone needs a general first aid kit and easy access to a telephone to alert emergency services. It might also be helpful to officially assign one or several employees the responsibility of contacting emergency services and helping injured staff until they arrive.
Hopefully you are accident free. Nothing bothers an employer more than knowing that their staff has been injured on the job. If you would like to bring on some staff who have already completed some general safety training, visit us online and find out more about what we can offer.