A long time ago, my husband, who owned a machine shop for a number of years, made the statement, “no one knows what being in business for themselves is like until they have actually done  it.”  Overhead, insurance, waiting to get paid, paying employees, maintenance, and many other headaches contribute to being in private business.  With that in mind, we’d like to encourage businesses everywhere to think about how safe their enterprises are. 

One of the first things is to hire good employees.  You can be a victim of internal theft, as well as external.  Do thorough background checks on all applicants.  Know whom you are allowing access to your buildings.  Be sure that keys cannot be duplicated without the master key.  There should be a locked closet that holds the master key to every door, with only certain employees having access to it.  Encourage staff to confidentially report any dishonesty by colleagues that they are aware of. 

How safe is your business equipment?  Keep an up-to-date inventory, including leased equipment that is not insured by the leasing company.  There are many types of security systems, including sensors on doors, closed-circuit cameras, and contract security companies that alert authorities when there is a problem.  Adequate lighting should be provided at all times.  Clear away any shrubs, bushes, or trees that could provide hiding places for thieves.  Installing dead bolts or coded locks may be another deterrent.  Develop safe procedures that protect every employee, from the very first person arriving to work in the morning until the last person leaves each evening. 

Building maintenance is very important.  Water leaks can cause costly damage.  Pipes, drains, and appliances should be checked often.  A crack approximately 1/8 of an inch in a pipe can release up to 250 gallons of water per day.  There are two types of water leak detection systems – active and passive.

  • Active systems are battery operated and can set off an alarm when moisture is detected as well as stop the water flow with some sort of shut-off valve.
  • Passive systems are battery operated and usually stand-alone units, with moisture sensors on the bottom of the apparatus, and will activate an alarm.  They are easily installed.

Roofs should also be inspected often for damage, or possibility of water leaks.  In the fall, it’s a good idea to insulate water pipes to avoid freezing later on. 

Of course, businesses should install sprinkler systems and smoke detectors, and have appropriate fire extinguishers ready for use in case of fire, depending on the types of equipment that are involved.   Individuals can plug in surge protection devices; however, the electric service meter surge protection devices must be professionally installed.  

This is probably just the tip of the iceberg; however, we hope the things that have been pointed out will help businesses be a little safer.  We salute both the small and large business owners, who make keep our communities going, by offering jobs that are so badly needed.