Blog entry

Boats and Business Safety

The first thing that comes to mind with boats is the fun summer days spent on the lake. Whether you are a passenger or the driver, preparation for an afternoon of boating begins early. Everyone thinks about the safety precautions that are necessary in case an emergency occurs while on the water. Unlike boating, there are no required exams to prove you know how to safely operate a business. Unless you choose to seek an education in business, there are no swimming lessons to make sure you can keep your business afloat in deep waters. As the business owner, it is your sole responsibility to make sure your company has safety procedures in place

By law, safety precautions should be taken at every workplace. In small businesses the owner is often also the employer and an employee of the company. The three roles have different responsibilities when it comes to health and safety in the workplace. As the owner you are responsible for creating and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. This includes disclosing with employees the details of any potential hazard and complying with occupational health and safety requirements. As the employer, you’re responsible for providing employees with quick and accessible first aid treatment, and ensuring all employees are trained to do their work safely.  The employer is also responsible for fixing any problems reported by employees, investigating incidents, and regularly inspecting the workplace for new hazards. As the employee, you are responsible for being alert to the hazards in the workplace, follow the procedures, and get treatment quickly if injury does occur.

The hazards on a construction site are much more easily spotted than those in an office setting however, every workplace will have its own hazards. Loose cords are tripping hazards. Heavy boxes of paper are capable of injuring anyone that doesn’t lift them properly. Slippery flooring or snowy sidewalks in the winter can cause havoc with employees and customers. If you think it’s time for anyone in the workplace to brush up on their roles and responsibilities, take the time to explore www.worksafebc.com.

Beyond WorkSafe BC, the safety net falls into the owner’s hands. What do you consider your business life jacket when it comes to natural and unexpected disasters? It is important to begin preparing your business for any type of future disasters. Preparing a document for yourself and employees will help everyone understand their roles and responsibilities when disaster strikes. Start by asking yourself some vital questions.

Who will contact all other employees to inform everyone that an emergency procedure has been implemented? Do you have a phone-tree prepared for the contact of all employees? Who will be the primary contact/ spokesperson in an emergency? What circumstances will the business remain open/ close? Who will remain as core staff? Be mindful when choosing core staff that each person has their own lives to care for in the event of a natural disaster. If your business is planning to remain open with limited staffing, what core operations need to be completed and what operations can be placed on the shelf? Are there any outside stakeholders or suppliers that need to be made aware of the situation? How and when will operations return back to normal following a large disruption?

Owning a small business can sometimes feel like diving off the back of the boat into deep and open water. Prepare yourself for the swim by paying attention to the health and safety procedures in your workplace, and preparing your emergency situation plans.

Community Futures Cariboo Chilcotin

Alexis Forseille

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About Community Futures

For over 25 years, we’ve been fostering entrepreneurship in rural BC. We offer small business loans, business counseling and specialized programs to help you start or grow a business, and to help communities become more resilient and dynamic.

266 Oliver Street
Williams Lake, BC
V2G 1M1

Phone: (250)392-3626
Toll free: (888)879-5399
Fax: (250)392-4813