If you own a business with employees, you have some responsibility to keep them safe and protected while they are at work. The standards and regulations for each industry vary, but there are guidelines out there that must be followed to protect your workers from unnecessary risk and harm. Many of these guidelines are outlined by government organizations such as OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or in other federal, state, and local laws.
As a business owner, you need to know your responsibility if an employee or customer were to get hurt and take steps now to protect yourself and those who come to your business. These steps are especially important for small business owners who might be newer to running a business and have more on the line.
Here are some of the basics about liability as a business owner you should know.
Be Careful Of How You Conduct Yourself
Everything you say and how you act can impact your reputation. You’ll want to ensure that you conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times and avoid working with others who use poor business practices. It’s also important to not have any conflict of interests, such as using your position in the community to influence laws in your business’s favor.
If you aren’t doing anything illegal or sneaky, you won’t have to worry about anything bad coming to light. It’s much better to err on the side of caution in these matters.
What To Know About Insurance And Attorneys
If an employee is injured on the job, they will likely seek out worker’s compensation if they feel they were treated unfairly or if workplace standards were not met. This protection is their right, but you can also protect yourself from people trying to claim you are liable when you’re not. You’ll likely want to have your own legal counsel on hand, mainly because they can help you stay up-to-date on laws in your industry to avoid future problems.
Secondly, you will need to have liability insurance. These policies protect you from lawsuits. For example, if a customer at your store slipped and was injured, this insurance would cover their medical bills, so it doesn’t come out of your own pockets. There are various plans that offer different kinds of liability protection. So, you’ll want to speak to a professional to find out the best option for you and your company.
Keep Your Business And Personal Finances Separate
If you’re a small business, you might be operating as a sole proprietorship. While this might be the simplest way to get started for tax purposes, it does have downsides regarding liabilities. If you were to get sued, you would have to give up your assets, such as your house or vehicles.
There are various ways to protect your personal assets and finances. One common route is setting up a business trust.
Try To Cover As Many Bases As Possible
Accidents do happen, and many things are out of your control. As a business owner, you aren’t expected to anticipate everything that could happen to your employees or customers. Still, you do need to have systems in place to keep everyone safe to a reasonable degree.
Having insurance plans and making sure you follow all the laws and regulations in your industry are necessary. These requirements will vary significantly depending on your business. For example, a construction site has different safety concerns than a retail store. So, be sure to do your research or hire an expert in the legalities of your industry.