Safety is important, but it can often take a back seat for small business owners who are working hard every day to make their businesses successful.

The U.S. Department of Labor provides a small business safety handbook through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as helpful answers to frequently asked questions.

All of this can sometimes take more time than you have, so consider being proactive about employee and customer safety with the following five simple tips so that you protect yourself and your business from expensive personal injury lawsuits.

1. Prevent slips, trips and falls

As the second leading cause of occupational injuries, slips, trips and falls can happen even in the most safety-conscious environments. Protect everyone by keeping aisles, passageways and exits clear of clutter, quickly cleaning up spills and leaks.

Replace worn or damaged flooring, and install mirrors or warning signs to help with blind spots. Of course, ensuring that sturdy railings are easily accessible next to stairways is also a must for fall prevention.

2. Provide appropriate safety gear

While typical office employees rarely need to worry about safety gear, some employees may need to be in the field constantly. Whatever the job requires especially if you work in the construction industry, make sure you provide adequate and appropriate safety gear as well as enforce the wearing of it.

This could include hard hats, safety goggles, earplugs, and gloves, all of which can greatly reduce the risk of workplace injury. You can also find and purchase the necessary fire safety products for your office at places like

3. Eliminate fire hazards

Exits and stairwells should be kept clear in case of fire. Check to make sure all materials are kept 18 inches from automatic sprinklers, fire extinguishers and sprinkler controls. For items stacked close to the ceiling, there should be a three-foot clearance so that in case of fire, water can reach all areas.

4. Consider starting a workplace safety training program

Safety training is very important for new employees who need to know what to do, how to their jobs safety. Get policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety and health of employees within your work premises.

OSHA provides lots of help for creating a personalized workplace safety training program. Valued team members can offer creative insights as well as you work to create a safe, productive environment.

5. Encourage personal housekeeping

Set some basic, written standards that each employee is responsible for. Keeping the work environment clean and tidy is healthy and beneficial for everyone.

Whether that’s tidying a cubicle once a week, wiping up one’s own mess in the breakroom, or cleaning out the work vehicle daily, responsibilities should be clearly delegated and communicated.

As a business owner, workplace safety is your business. If you don’t do it right by providing a safe environment, encouraging safety in the workplace and enforcing it when needed, your business may suffer.

If this does occur, it would be best to consult an Appleton personal injury lawyer; however, everyone wins when your place of business is known for putting the safety of employees and customers first.