Small business owners have a variety of challenges when it comes to growing their companies or sustaining the levels of success that they have already reached. They may not have the financial or human resources available to advertise and advocate for their brand. However, just because a business may be small doesn’t mean that it can avoid compliance.
How can small business owners keep their companies in compliance with the law?
Spend Time Reviewing Any Changes to the Law
Even if you just take a couple of hours a week to do so, make sure that you are spending time familiarizing yourself with the law and any changes that may take place. This allows you to be proactive instead of reactive as these changes are implemented. The good news is that most rules aren’t enforced overnight, so you will have a chance to gradually implement new rules or processes to stay compliant with the law. It may be a good idea to have a lawyer on speed dial or hire someone to work as a compliance officer either on a part-time or contractor basis. For some businesses, an inventory management solution can help with FDA compliance and meeting other federal regulations.
Make Sure That Employees Are Given Proper Safety Equipment and Training
If your company uses snack food processing equipment from APEC, or any other type of equipment, there may be sharp edges and other parts that could result in lost fingers or hands if used improperly. Training your workers on how to properly operate the equipment, as well as providing mesh gloves and eyeglasses, can prevent or reduce injury. It is also necessary to stay in compliance with the law. If possible, machines should have automatic shutoff buttons to ensure that they can be stopped or industrial locks to ensure they don’t start while being cleaned or maintained.
Ask OSHA Representatives If You Have Questions
You may want to ask OSHA directly or another workplace safety regulator if you have any questions as to whether or not you are in compliance with their requirements. Generally, you won’t be fined or otherwise cited simply because you asked for clarification. However, you should be prepared to upgrade equipment or make other changes if you are found to be out of compliance. In the event that an accident occurs, you should be ready for an inspection and possible citations.
Make Sure to Report All Serious Accidents
If an accident is serious enough to result in hospitalization or causes a worker to miss work time, it must be reported within 24 hours. This helps OSHA and other groups keep a record of safety issues and can help them make new rules to prevent future injuries from occurring. Assuming that you have the financial resources to do so, you may want to do your own safety checks and upgrade equipment above and beyond regulatory standards to get ahead of any potential issues.
Don’t Forget Wage and FMLA Regulations
While safety regulations are among the most important that you should stay in compliance with, there are others to worry about as well. Employees must be paid 150 percent of their typical pay if they work more than 40 hours a week, even if you don’t approve the overtime. Pregnant workers or others who need to leave work to take care of family members may need to be granted leave, if your company has more than 15 employees, under the Family Medical Leave Act.
Keeping your business compliant can prevent fines and other potential legal issues from keeping your company from being successful. Hiring a compliance agent or talking to regulatory agencies directly may be the best ways to ensure that the law is being followed and worker rights respected at all times.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.