Are There Hidden Hazards At Your Business?

Most of us take pride in the fact that we give the best service or we remove more spots than our competition. But how many of us take the time to really look for hazards around our workplace? Hazards are everywhere, but when you look at them every day, they become commonplace and unnoticeable. Many times employees won’t tell you there is a problem. When I owned my business, I had a situation at my front counter. The bags hung so that there was a slight drag on the floor. I didn’t see a problem, but one day I happened to slip while moving behind the counter. I had stepped on the end of the bag and the tile floor caused my slip. When asking my CSRs later if this was a problem for them, they admitted it was. When asked why they never told me, a shrug of shoulders was my answer. Let your employees know that if there is a hazardous condition, you want to know about it!

Worker safety must be a priority in your business. There are so many worker compensation claims being filed today. Several insurance companies are no longer writing worker compensation coverage in California. Insurance companies are tightening their belts and not writing a business if there has been a lapse in coverage. You then will be forced to go to the State Fund where the rates are even higher. Some of the claims being filed are fraudulent but the insurance companies still need to investigate these claims. These investigations are costly. There are many claims that are justified. Accidents happen. Presentation is the name of the game.

Professional inspection help is available…free. Cal/OSHA has a consultation service and it is available at no cost to you. The CAL/OSHA consultation services are completely separate from the CAL/OSHA enforcement services. I know of a few dry cleaners that took advantage of this service and they were very happy with the results. If you are not located in California, OSHA has the same programs in your state. These onsite consultations will not result in citations or penalties. However, if they find a serious violation, you must agree to fix it within a certain period of time.

OSHA is comprised of 4 divisions- Standards, Enforcement, Appeals Board and Consultation. The Consultation division was developed to help Employers know the rules and help them comply. The consultants will help by identifying and analyzing hazards and recommending best-practice solutions. They will want to review your record of past injuries and illnesses. They will help you develop a safety program, if you do not have one or fine-tune the program you have. They are also very willing to provide training assistance. They even have bilingual resources available. There is a Resource Catalog available where you can order posters, booklets, CD-ROMs – all for free.

A simple phone call is all that is necessary. They have 7 offices statewide so you will deal with the local office. The toll free number is (800) 963-9424 or you can look on the Internet: Consider taking advantage of this service. Call now while business is slow and you have time. Having a safe environment for your employees can prevent accidents. Accidents are what make worker compensation rates skyrocket. Doing everything you can to provide a safe environment for your employees is a very important part of your business. Fewer accidents will result in lower worker compensation rates in the future.

About Jackie Smith

Jackie Smith has been in the dry-cleaning industry for over 40 years. Her experience spans from owning a drycleaning business to working for Henderson Insurance Agency who specializes in the fabricare industry. She currently serves on the CCA Board as well as the board for So Cal Cleaners Association. She can be reached at

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