NBJ0601_001lrAs a small business owner, you likely have had a workers’ compensation claim filed against you. If you haven’t, you probably will at some point. Accidents happen, at home and at work. Sometimes we can do things to prevent them — and sometimes we can’t — but we must still abide by the laws and do our best to create safe working environments for our employees.

Our company has had two claims during the past 12 years. One involved a sales representative falling off a curb in a customer’s parking lot and injuring a leg. That first claim increased our workers’ compensation insurance rates a great deal, and no business owner I know wants to spend more on insurance. We talked with all our sales reps about the need to wear appropriate shoes, park in safe areas, and be aware of their surroundings. We then started a monthly meeting with various staff members to help address safety in the workplace and to make sure we were doing all we could to keep our employees safe and our costs down.

The second of our two claims is one many of you can likely relate to — an employee slipping and falling in an icy parking lot. Iowa winters create hazards, and many people have fallen prey to a patch of ice at some point in their lives. But when a fall happens on your business property, you, as the business owner, are to blame. This accident pushed us to address the need to keep ice and snow better cleared with our landlord, and I personally arrived to work earlier each snowy morning to shovel the walks and put down ice melt.

These accidents were truly unfortunate, but they helped us to better address issues in the workplace and have a safer environment for everyone.

In this month’s cover story, we offer tips and ideas from safety experts, as well as local small business owners. I found their comments to be helpful, and I hope you do, too.

Thanks for reading.

 

Shane

Shane Goodman

Editor and Publisher

Iowa Business Journals

NEW 2014 Shane