Safer facilities help reduce risk
By Ashleigh Petersen
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Safer facilities help reduce risk

Take 5 for Safety is a monthly article designed to give equipment and event rental stores the information they need to conduct a five-minute safety meeting on a particular topic. Below are talking points for this month’s meeting. The Take 5 for Safety signup sheet can be downloaded below. This can be used to take attendance during the meeting. 

Introduction: When it comes to keeping your business safe for customers, the key words are vigilance and immediacy. If the company’s culture is one of safety first, customers will be at lower risk for injury and therefore, place the business at a lower risk for lawsuits. Employees who notice and respond to problems when they first occur keep everyone safer.

Here are some facility safety tips to consider: When displaying or storing tools with sharp edges, the cutting surface should be away from the aisle so customers walking by do not cut themselves. Keep sharp-edged tools out of the reach of children.

Showrooms need to be childproofed. Children have a natural curiosity, which can result in both minor and major injuries if the equipment is not stored properly.

Periodically inspect your store at your eye-level, remembering that some people are shorter or taller than you. Walk through your business as a customer — look at items from all angles. Is anything sticking out that could have hit you in the eye or face? For example, pegs and peg boards that hold merchandise should be just long enough to hold the equipment and kept away from eye-level height.

Stack shelves and items properly. Stack heavier items on lower shelves and put lighter merchandise higher up. Also, consider how high items are stacked and if this might pose the danger of toppling down on customers.

Secure display equipment to avoid tipping. Some pieces of equipment, like compaction equipment, are top-heavy. Secure them to a fixed object to prevent them from tipping over.

Inclement weather brings with it indoor and outdoor hazards. Remove snow and ice from entrances and parking lots immediately. Use doormats, and mop and post “wet floor” signs to prevent slips, trips and falls.

Having clearly worded and visible parking lot signage directing people where to pick up and drop off equipment is critical. Statistics show that many accidents happen when backing up. Reduce the need to back up to minimize the risk of employees and customers backing into other vehicles, equipment or people.

Discussion:

  • Think about the entrances to your business during different weather conditions and list ways to make them safer.
  • Make separate lists of sharp items, heavy items and items that could tip over easily. Discuss how they are currently displayed and whether changes should be made.
  • Visualize or walk through your work area — identify the trip hazards and ways to rectify the situation.
  • Discuss signage — inside and out. Is the lettering large enough to read from a distance and in a plain font? Are the instructions clear? Discuss changes.
  • Think about the traffic flow, inside and out. Could a customer carrying out a piece of equipment injure an incoming customer? Do customers need to back up their vehicles in the yard? Brainstorm recommendations on ways to improve the traffic flow.
Ashleigh Petersen

Ashleigh PetersenAshleigh Petersen

Ashleigh Petersen is the associate editor for Rental Management. She writes news and feature articles, plus coordinates the monthly Safety Issue and several sections in the magazine. Ashleigh loves spending time with her husband and young son, baking, gardening and listening to true crime and comedy podcasts.

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