Being an entrepreneur is inherently risky. You take risks every time you attempt a new business venture, whether it be a physical, mental, or emotional risk. If your entrepreneurial spirit guides you to a business that employs people under you, it opens up a whole new set of risks that you have to contend with. These risks are no different for those entering the healthcare field.
Much of the business world operates off of a risk/reward ratio. If something is worth the risk, then you capitalize on it. If something is too risky, you simply avoid it. Unfortunately, there are always going to be risks on your journey that cannot be anticipated. Taking the appropriate legal precautions can help you to mitigate that risk going forward.
It is a well-established fact that companies can be held liable for injuries to their employees while on the job. Whether the injury is recent, or even if it occurred years ago and the negative effects have only recently begun to appear, liability falls on the business. This is, of course, unless special provisions have been put in place by the business, or if the injury occurred while the employee was under the influence, not following safety protocols, et cetera.
One liability horror story is that of the asbestos industry. If you watch any amount of television, I’m sure you’ve seen ads for lawyers offering to file suit against companies over developed mesothelioma. Asbestos companies are directly responsible for mesothelioma cases, and because of this, they are liable. Unfortunately, when many of these companies found out what their product was doing to employees, they attempted to cover it up instead of addressing the issue.
While the long-term health effects might not be readily apparent in a working environment, we do have systems in place to deal with immediate workplace injuries. If you or an employee are injured at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. The only factors barring you or an employee from collecting workers’ compensation is if you received the injury while intoxicated, or if the injury was intentional. To minimize your liability for legal repercussions from your employees, maintain a safe workplace that strictly follows the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s safety guidelines. As a majority of healthcare-related businesses end up dealing with hazardous materials and dangerous equipment, ensuring a safe work environment is imperative to your success.
Your Role as an Employer
While it is important to hedge the risks against yourself personally, it is just as important to be mindful of the risks posed to your business and employees as well. Not only will this save money in the long-term if a legal issue arises, but it’s good practice in general for a good leader. By investing in the proper safeguards for your business and employees, you engender respect towards yourself.
One way to help your business is to engage in management accounting. The role of an accounting manager is to assess and evaluate risk factors that might impact your business. Once risk factors are identified, accounting managers then strategize methods to address those risks. Another important facet is the ability to constantly monitor the business in order to stay ahead of any potential risks or to be able to address them as they occur.
For your employees, running a health and safety audit of your workplace does wonder. A team of specialists evaluate your current business operation and identify any issues that may result in an injury or violation of workplace standards. Then, they make an assessment of your written health and safety policy to ensure that it clearly lays out standards for employees. Finally, they make sure that you have the appropriate emergency equipment readily accessible such as fire extinguishers and first aid kits. This not only helps maintain safety standards at your business but also mitigates your liability in the event of an emergency or injury.
New Technology Can Help or Hurt
Developing technologies regularly help fledgling businesses flourish. This fact especially applies to the healthcare industry, as it thrives and often depends on new technologies. Technology can help you to be an entrepreneur on the road, streamline your business’ logistics, and make your day-to-day operations run smoothly. However, it is important to note that technology has the potential to expose you to legal risks.
Health innovators change the landscape of the healthcare field constantly. The use of AI and big data, in particular, continue to make waves across the world in how we analyze data and care for patients. That being said, there is a dark side to the big data craze. With so much patient data being transferred digitally, any entrepreneur in the healthcare field should be cautious. Data breaches are not uncommon in any business, but with healthcare data like patient health information, you may be at risk of a HIPAA violation. Make sure that your system is secure in order to prevent this from happening.
Even the most ubiquitous office technology can pose a health risk to your employees. While the copy machine isn’t likely to harm anyone anytime soon, the humble computer screen might be causing serious damage to your employee’s eyes. Blue light is bad for your eyes, and while the largest source of blue light is the sun, computer screens emit a fair amount. To keep your employees safe, consider providing yellow-tinted glasses or monitor screen covers in order to offset the damaging effects of blue light.