As a store owner, you’ll know that it’s hugely important to ensure that your retail space is safe for both your customers and your employees. There are several different ways in which a workplace or store can quickly become unsafe, from increased risk of trips and slips to fire hazards. Inattention to detail or irregular safety checks can quickly lead to your store failing to meet even the most basic of health and safety considerations. Whilst you can easily find health and safety recommendations for retail stores directly from the government, it’s important to bear in mind that your shop is only as safe as you make it. Failing to meet health and safety regulations could cause massive problems for your business, so it always pays off to be vigilant. Here are our top tips on keeping your retail store safe and secure.
Tip #1. Look for Fire Hazards:
The thing about fire hazards is that they can be sneaky. You might not even realise that something is increasing the risk of fire in your shop. Factors such as exposed wires from electrical equipment or lighting, improper chemical storage in back rooms, combustible materials left near heat sources, or open flames in displays can all massively increase the risk of your store going up in flames. Make sure that you’re always prepared for any nasty surprises by keeping easily accessible fire extinguishers at various points around your store and ensuring that all employees have access to regular fire safety training. Schedule routine fire extinguisher inspections, too, to ensure that they are all in good working order.
Tip #2. Avoid Physical Damage with Correct Training:
Stores can be busy places. For employees, this often means a shift full of lifting and carrying stock from the storeroom onto the shop floor. Make sure that all your employees know exactly how to relocate stock, particularly heavy items, from one place to another without causing any physical damage to themselves. Lifting heavy items incorrectly can cause lasting back damage, so make sure that your employees are correctly trained and have access to regular refresher training too. In addition, make sure that you’re matching the right people to jobs – somebody who’s physically stronger will be a better option than a very petite person for lifting boxes all day, for example.
Tip #3. Protection Against Crime:
Although there’s little that you can do in some criminal circumstances, it’s important to be ready for any situations that do arise. If you’ve experienced shoplifting or criminal damage at your store before, or others in the area have, then it’s certainly worth upping your security levels to ensure the safety of both your staff and your customers. CCTV installation, security alarms, and security personnel on-site can all help to deter criminals from targeting your shop.
Asides from physical crime there are also other aspects of crime that could impact your business. You yourself need to ensure that your business meets health and safety requirements and is licensed. To get this organised you can get commercial property legal advice from Harper James Solicitors they can also assist you with commercial and employment law making them an ideal firm to partner up with across the board.
Many retail stores are located inside larger shopping centres, with no windows. Without adequate ventilation, the air quality inside your shop will worsen, since the air could collect mould, bacteria, fungus, and other specific vapours from products used. It’s a wise idea to install a mechanical system in your store to keep the air quality as high as possible. These systems are designed to cycle in fresh outdoor air and circulate it through your store, helping to keep the environment as clean as possible. For stores that already have a mechanical air system in place, it’s vital to regularly check that it is functioning properly. Hiring a professional to inspect the system on a regular basis is definitely a worthwhile investment.
Tip #5. Health and Safety is for Everybody!
Last but not least, it’s important to have the attitude that health and safety isn’t just for the boss – it’s for everybody who works in your store, from the checkout staff to warehouse workers and cleaners. Whatever their role, it’s important to make sure that all your employees are fully health and safety trained and know exactly which hazards to look out for and what to do if they need to report an issue. Make sure that all employees know how to deal with hazards where appropriate and to never leave one unattended or unreported. This could be something as simple as a spilt drink causing a slip hazard to a small fire; employees who know what to do in any situation can make all the difference. It’s also worth training certain members of staff to become fire marshals and first aiders; they can offer extra support to colleagues and customers in the event of a health or safety hazard.
Keeping your retail store in line with health and safety regulations is vital for business. Make sure that your employees and customers are kept safe by following these guidelines.