Workplace safety is incredibly important, not just for your employees, but for your customers as well. All it takes is some spilled detergent or a loose cord to create a slip or fall hazard, and if a person is injured your business could be on the hook.
That is why you should always be on the lookout for ways to improve safety in your laundry business. Laundromats can be a particularly risky location, in part due to the high number of customers and the minimal number of full-time employees.
Here is what you should know about workplace safety and how you can decrease risk at your laundromat, both for your employees and your customers:
Injuries can take their toll
A workplace accident can be a costly event, regardless of potential litigation. For example, a worker who slips in your laundromat may need to miss work for an extended period of time. This means you could have to pay some of their health care and cover the costs of a replacement worker, not to mention the cost of lost productivity due to a missing employee.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were slightly more than 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2013 alone. Out of that 3 million, more than half resulted in time away from work, a job transfer or a reduced role in the company.
How to prevent workplace accidents
In the laundry industry, workplace accidents can affect customers as much as employers. This is especially true in laundromats, where customers are frequently left alone to handle washing and drying – as well as the associated risks.
The key risk factors in a laundromat are slips, trips and falls, which are also the most common form of injury in nearly all industries. Slips, trips and falls can come about due to wet floors (the spilled detergent example), uneven surfaces, awkward steps, electrical cords and cables and other risks.
The steps you can take to prevent slips, trips and falls include:
- Assessment – First, take a walk around your laundromat. What are the risks? Do you have uneven steps leading into the store? Is there an electrical cable spread across the room, or damaged tiles in the floor? Any of these problems could cause a patron – or an employee – to slip and fall, so keep an eye out for potential risks.
- Policies – The next step is to create workplace policies. Your employees should know how to clean and maintain your laundromat and when those tasks need to be completed. The best defense is a good offense, so to speak. The same can go for your customers. Make sure you have cleaning supplies at hand if someone spills something. A roll of paper towels can prevent an unfortunate accident.
- Design – The layout of your laundromat can also be a risk factor. If you can change the design, you may want to reconsider the layout of your equipment and where your customers are walking. A simple layout shift could mitigate some risk and keep customers away from slipperier sections of the building.
- Lighting – Another smart idea is to properly light your laundromat. If you notice one area in the dark, add in a few more light bulbs to brighten up the space. A simple change like more lighting can highlight fall hazards and help customers better navigate the laundromat.
With these four tips in mind, you’ll be able to make your laundry business a much safer place to be, for both your employees and your customers.