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Is Your Distillery Safe and Secure? Here’s Two Ways to Make Sure…

As a distillery consultant, I always have safety and security on my mind. Whether it’s designing the distillery layout or a visitor path on the production floor, safety and security should be a priority for any distillery owner.

Unfortunately, these are also areas we may neglect in the busy hustle of the day. It’s a good idea to take a moment and ask yourself, “What happens if…”

  • An employee gets burned?
  • A customer on your tour has a heart attack?
  • Your distillery is hit by a severe storm?

How prepared are you to respond to emergencies like these? If you don’t have a definite plan of action for one or more of these threats, then that’s a red flag. And it’s also not good enough to simply dismiss these possibilities as things that “probably won’t happen,” because they very well could.

As a distillery owner, it’s your job to make sure you and your employees are always ready for the worst-case scenario. You should be confident that your facility will be ready to render assistance in any event. After all, the safety and well-being of your employees and visitors is your responsibility. But don’t worry. You can prevent a future disaster in your distillery by addressing safety and security concerns now. Here’s two ways to get started.

1. Get a Professional Safety Check-Up

I always suggest starting this process by hiring a safety company. An outside safety professional will be able to evaluate your procedures and operation through non-biased eyes, which most of us cannot do. And if they’re as thorough as they should be, they’ll also likely catch problems you may have missed – and that’s well worth the investment.

When selecting a safety company, be sure to ask about their process, services, and the checks they typically perform. They should have the expertise to look at your operation from a technical standpoint to evaluate whether you’ve got the equipment needed to provide a safe environment for work and visit; and they should also be experienced in auditing employee roles and visitor experiences to ensure safety throughout your facilities.

Part of this process will involve carefully reviewing and assisting with updating your safety manual, training programs, and practices, as well as confirming that your staff are properly trained and confident in their ability to perform all safety related functions.

A reputable safety company should also be equipped to conduct any required Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) classes and grant OSHA certifications where needed. After all, you, your employees, and any vendors you work with are required to follow OSHA rules and guidelines, so it helps if your safety partner is well versed in these areas.

Now I know what you’re thinking… This sounds expensive! Well, I can guarantee that an annual safety check-up will cost you a lot less than an unreported OSHA incident; not to mention the fact that it can prevent you and your employees from experiencing the guilt, grief, and hardship that comes with any disaster. And while some OSHA guidelines may seem over the top, understand that each was developed because somebody got seriously hurt or killed on the job. Don’t compromise safety and don’t be the next OSHA case study.

2. Develop Security Protocols

Security can be an overlooked area of small business. We often view security as a camera or a lock, but what about having a secure location in your business for protection against a serious storm, civil unrest, or even a terroristic threat? Where in your facilities can you, your employees, and visitors be secure in those situations?

A good safety company can help you develop security plans for these types of incidents, including evacuation routes for a variety of emergencies. During a lock-down, how do you account for and communicate with everyone – employees and visitors, alike? Will you have an intercom or walkie talkie? Or do you just plan on running through the building screaming? Again, these are things we seldom think about until it’s already happening – and usually by then it’s too late.

Imagine what happens to your business if the unimaginable occurs – a death, an explosion, a serious injury to an employee or customer. There’s no line item on the Profit & Loss (P&L) or Return On Investment (ROI) statements for this. You’ve got to be smart. Create security protocols early, make sure they are reviewed, updated, and practiced often, and make sure you and your employees have the tools needed to take action when disaster strikes.

It may sound scary, but these issues don’t have to keep you awake at night. If you make the effort to establish safety and security practices and procedures now, then you’ll rest easy being able to enjoy your business – and your life!

Send a message to mvaughnperformance1@gmail.com to learn more about what the safety and security experts at M V Performance LLC can do for you.

Written by Michael Vaughn, Consultant, M V Performance LLC

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