Steps Outdoor Businesses Can Take To Protect Themselves And Their Employees

The outdoor recreation industry was worth $412 million in 2019 – around 2.2 percent of the U.S. GDP. Almost half of the American population participate in an outdoor sport, thanks to experts citing the physical and mood-lifting benefits of being outdoors.

With over $882 billion spent by consumers annually, the outdoor industry can be a lucrative one to become apart of. However, as in any other industry, outdoor business owners need to think beyond profitability – to how to protect their business and its assets from seasonality and unplanned events.

Whether it is securing your business against crime or implementing safety policies for your employees working in an active/outdoor setting, here are a few tips that can help you protect you, your business, your employees, and even your customers.

Implement Regular Risk Assessments For Employee And Customer Safety

For businesses where a significant portion of their operations are carried out outdoors, carrying out a risk assessment is essential to maintaining adequate health and safety regulations for employees. It allows businesses to identify, plan for and mitigate against new and oncoming threats to the business, their employees and their customers.

For an outdoor business, items on your workplace risk assessment checklist should include checking adequate and correct personal protective gear is worn/supplied, employees are well trained in emergency response protocol, and certain workplace hazards are removed or warned against. It is also helpful to work with a health and safety consultant who is well trained in the risk assessment process and can help you develop a great risk strategy. 

Secure Outdoor Activities, Product Guarantee, And Professional Indemnity Insurance

Most businesses will need some standard insurance policies like workers’ compensation, property insurance and commercial auto insurance cover. For outdoor businesses, there will be a few additional insurance policies that can protect your business from specific risks.

The first of these is outdoor activities insurance policies, which apply to outdoor businesses that offer outdoor recreation activities, such as kayaking, hiking or water sports, where the participants would be placing themselves in harm’s way during the activity. 

If your business offers outdoor recreation products for sale, it’s also worth getting a product guarantee policy to protect your business from legal claims in the event of product defects or malfunctions. While it does not eradicate the chances of legal actions, it minimizes the financial impact of legal action on your business.

Finally, if a service is included in your outdoor business’ offering to customers – such as training for outdoor sports or professional advice on product selection – professional indemnity insurance coverage can provide damage restitution should a damage claim be filed by a customer.

Invest In Adequate And Updated Onsite And Product Training For Floor Staff

American based companies rank second-worst at training their employees at new skills, even though 87 percent of the workforce believe it would be important to receive updated training throughout their career, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. The importance of ongoing employee training should never be underestimated – particularly in an outdoor business where risks can be higher.

Some industries, like the food industry, make ongoing safety training standard, and regularly give employees safety tips for preventing injuries.

In addition to regular employee refresher courses for outdoor sports certifications, make sure your employees are offered paid training on basic health and safety procedures and corporate training programs, including communication, time management, and customer service. This helps them to be prepared in the event of illness or on-site emergency while continuously developing their knowledge of new products, sporting trends and customer service techniques. 

Lastly, look into the provision of adequate employee amenities such as raincoats or sunscreen for your employees, since they will be exposed to harsh elements whilst working outdoors year-round. This will help to reduce employee sick leave/time off while increasing your employer brand image in the eyes of the public and employees.

While you cannot stop unpredictable events from affecting your business or employees, you can take steps today to protect them and prepare them to handle it in the best way possible.