Better Safe than Sorry: Keeping Staff Safe, Aware and Alert

September 15, 2010 No Comments

No matter the industry, security and safety training are paramount to a business’ success. It’s a challenge that every owner, especially that of a small business, must find a solution to, in order to keep their staff safe, aware and alert—roller skating owners and operators are no different. Creating a safe environment for skating center employees and providing the proper safety training is not only essential, but also a skating center owner’s responsibility.
The Basics: Buddy Systems,
Surveillance and Good Lighting
Creating a safe work environment starts by sticking to a few basic safety rules. If you have heard it once, you’ve heard it 100 times. Don’t let your staff open or close alone; always have them work in a buddy system.
According to Smallhomebusiness.suite101.com, Richard Ginsburg, CEO of Protection One, Inc., said that business investing in and enforcing safety measures is paramount to staff security and the security of small businesses. “Use a buddy system,” he told the Web site. “After the sun goes down, make sure employees don’t leave alone.”
The buddy system is a common practice, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Michael Fleming, former RSA board member, skating center operator and current operator of the seven-acre Mountasia Family Fun Center in Santa Clarita, Calif., echoed Ginsburg’s suggestion of using a buddy system.
“We all know there is power in numbers,” Fleming wrote in the September/October 2009 RSB. “Managers should never open or close alone.”
Fleming recommended that operators utilize two or more staff members when opening and closing their skating center, always have skating centers’ alarm pads set up with a robbery-in-progress button and make sure that entry areas are not obstructed with plants, shrubs or trees, basically, anything that someone could hide behind.
Additionally, he recommends evaluating the surveillance systems that skating center operators equip their facilities with. He suggests that operators make the switch to digital, and possibly, adding more cameras to ensure operators have adequate coverage. He recommended, “that surveillance equipment should never be located in an open area or an office frequented by employees. It is best secured in an obscure location such as a locked office cabinet (not where the cash is kept), or in a locked file.”
Another investment to make in your skating center’s safety is in its lighting. “Lighting is very important,” Ginsburg urged to the Web site. “Bright lights can scare off people who are up to no good.” It’s not only essential to present a safe atmosphere for your customers, but it’s essential for your staff. Lighting is a great way to show staff members the skating center and its management are interested in their safety. “Unless the business owner takes major improvements in a building’s security and adds employee safety measures, an employee is likely to start looking for a new job that makes her feel safer,” Ginsburg cautioned.
However, incorporating and insisting on the buddy system, up-to-date surveillance equipment and good lighting will not only promote safety at your skating center, it will reassure your staff that your skating center is a safe place to work, day or night.
Training Your Staff
While skating center operators can take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of their staff, it’s also important the staff members have the knowledge to stay safe as well. Smallhomebusiness.suite101.com recommends business owners train their staff appropriately so they are prepared for emergencies. The site recommends business owners urge staff members to be alert and aware of anything out of the ordinary. Have them get familiar with who should be in your facility and who should not. Include in the closing procedures that employees carry their cell phones in their hands as they exit the building, and be sure the staff is properly trained on using the skating center’s security alarm.
Fleming also suggested that skating center operators have local law enforcement professionals inspect the skating center’s safety measure and help train staff on safe opening and closing procedures and on staying alert and aware.
“As a former Los Angeles Police Officer, I encourage all of you to take a step back and look at your cash and security procedures,” he suggested. “Are you setting yourself or your employees up to be victims?” He added that local law enforcement offer this service free to business operators.
One hallmark of a safe business is staff retention. Keeping your staff safe and happy sends a powerful message to skating center customers. Smallhomebusiness.suite101.com recommends two measures to improve staff retention. The first measure is to issue employee satisfaction surveys. This helps business owners gauge the contentment of the staff and possibly where changes need to be made. The second measure is to offer a suggestion box. This allows employees the opportunity to be heard by the owners and operators. They will appreciate their suggestions being taken seriously and feel more a part of the business when those suggestions are implemented. “Making simple changes can make employees more content with their jobs,” stated the Web site and added that these measures show the staff that the business owner cares about what they think and values their opinion.
Skating center operators should have a vested interest in keeping their skating center and employees as safe as possible. Just a few small changes can go a long way in ensuring safety.  -

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