Occupational health and safety can be overwhelming for many small businesses. Small Business BC helps steer them in the right direction.
A June 2019 story in Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine describes how small business owners across Canada often don’t know where to start when it comes to workplace health and safety.
Here in B.C., 98 percent of companies are small businesses (defined as fewer than 50 employees). They can get help with workplace health and safety — along with other aspects of running a small business — from Small Business BC (SBBC). This non-profit organization supports small business owners with expert guidance on the many facets of starting and growing a company.
“We talk with owners about WorkSafeBC coverage and business insurance, and a lot of that conversation is about protecting themselves and their employees,” says Leo Chow, SBBC’s manager of Education Services. “They need to make sure their workplace is safe and also to have coverage if something were to happen.”
Steps to improve workplace health and safety
7 Steps to Improving Workplace Health and Safety, one of SBBC’s most popular articles, describes the following as the basic components of a health and safety program for a small business:
- Create a plan for improving health and safety
- Inspect your workplace
- Train your employees
- Keep an open dialogue about safety with your staff
- Investigate accidents
- Maintain records
- Make improving health and safety a key part of business
Bridget Field, SBBC’s manager of client services, says: “Some of our clients are transitioning from working for an employer who provided their WorkSafeBC coverage and other benefits. Now that they’re starting their own businesses, they need to know how to create that safety net for themselves and their employees. It’s all around mitigating risk.”
Resources for small business owners
The SBBC office (at the beautiful Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver) offers print copies of some WorkSafeBC publications that small businesses may find useful. Here are a few examples:
- Health and Safety for Small Businesses: A Guide to WorkSafeBC
- How to Make Your Computer Workstation Fit You
- Tools for Training Young and New Workers
Here are some other health and safety articles and resources:
- Asbestos Safety in the Workplace (article from SBBC)
- Prepared BC: Emergency Plan for Small Businesses (fillable form from the Government of B.C.)
- Health and Safety for Small Business (e-course from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety)
Small Business Week 2019
In 2019, Small Business Week is October 20 to 26. This nation-wide event celebrates small business and offers advice that includes health and safety guidance.