Everyone that goes to work each morning, plans for the best. They plan on having a safe commute, a productive workday, and to arrive back home to spend some quality time with their loved ones.
A safe conscious mindset and a safe work environment is key to allowing millions of workers to do just that.
As an employer, it may not be enough to simply have guidelines and policies. It takes the right company culture to instill safety into the mindset of employees; but with the right one, you reduce risk, improve lives, and save money.
SAFETY AS A CULTURE
Culture is arguably the most vital piece to a company’s success. One area that impacts company culture is safety. Safety culture is defined by the beliefs, attitudes, and work practices of management and employees, including the way people act and behave in terms of safety and health.
OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) laws and other standards make safety in the workplace a priority, but developing a culture that is committed to safety is one way to reinvest in your overall culture and the success of your company.
SAFETY CULTURE PROMOTION
Leading by Example
Although dual accountability between employees and management is required to create the best safety culture, under OSHA, the OSH Act states employers are ultimately responsible for developing and promoting a safety culture that is an integral part of the organization. Employers can do this by understanding the importance of leadership commitment, because a positive safety culture starts at the top.
“Senior leaders have the strongest visible effects on an organization,” according to Dale Carnegie Digital. They “steer the organization towards its vision” through leading by example and clearly communicating expectations.
Safety Over Production
Furthermore, safety must be just as important as productivity. Ignoring safety creates great risk and cost including, “emergency response and medical care, lost time of employees in production, workers’ compensation insurance premiums, potential fines from regulatory agencies and litigation from injured workers or their families.”
“Only private business…can solve America’s epidemic of obesity, chronic disease, and runaway health care costs by investing in the health…of their employees,” according to Toby Cosgrove, CEO of Cleveland Clinic.
It is imperative for a company to commit resources that help employees feel their best and to help prevent them from being absent from the workplace due to health reasons. By “creating a worksite that supports and encourages a healthy lifestyle,” employers can actually reduce sick leave by 27.8 percent.
“When a business invests in a safety program, everyone wins,” Al Voigt, CITY facility services representative, said. “It truly shows employees that their safety is a top priority.”
Employers can encourage attendance and produce happier and more motivated employees by demonstrating their support. To prevent absenteeism, businesses can:
- Demonstrate and promote the importance of a healthy and safe work environment.
- Ensure employees have access to preventative care and treatment for common health problems.
- Ensure employees have access to competent occupational health advice and support.
These recommendations will promote a workplace culture that encourages health management and supports employees to change their habits. Employees need this support and motivation from their employers, or they might just find work elsewhere with a company that values them and their health.
“The 20th century viewpoint that believes people are a means to an end has run its course. We are seeing employees refusing to play by the tired rules from the previous century…They are leaving companies that treat them as a finite asset in hopes of finding someplace where they are valued,” Shawn Murphy, CEO of WorkiQ, said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), paying proper attention to employee health and safety provides the following benefits:
Benefits to the organization
Benefits to the employee
|a well-managed health & safety program||a safe and healthy work environment|
|a positive and caring image||enhanced self-esteem|
|improved staff morale||reduced stress|
|reduced staff turnover||improved morale|
|reduced absenteeism||increased job satisfaction|
|increased productivity||increased skills for health protection|
|reduced health care/insurance costs||improved health|
|reduced risk of fines and litigation||improved sense of well-being|
SAVING WITH SAFETY
Employers can significantly reduce costs by improving upon their safety and health management systems. Making safety a priority program that is endorsed by top management will greatly impact profitability by reducing workplace injuries and illnesses, the costs associated with workers’ compensation benefits, medical expenses, and lost productivity.
Below is a list of expenses that can be reduced with a quality safety program.
Workers’ Compensation Costs
Workplace illnesses, injuries, and fatalities cost the country billions of dollars each year. In 2014, an estimated $1 billion per week was paid for direct workers’ compensation for disabling, non-fatal workplace injuries, according to the 2017 Liberty Mutual Insurance Workplace Safety Index. Better workplace safety leads to fewer claims, and fewer claims directly affect your workers’ compensation rate.
Studies show that with every dollar invested in injury prevention, businesses see a $2 to $6 return, according to Safety and Health Magazine. A safe work environment that includes proper uniforms, equipment, safety supplies, and first aid products will help lower medical expenses in the event an employee needs medical care.
To avoid these costly reparations, businesses can take advantage of following simple safety and health guidelines to ensure OSHA compliance. As of Jan. 2, 2018, the minimum cost of an OSHA violation is now $12,934. When it comes to willful and repeat violations, penalties jump to $129,336. It only takes one workplace safety or health violation to severely hinder a business’s financial standing.
Cost for Accident Investigation
Being proactive with employee safety keeps everyone focused on the job they were hired to do. An injury can disrupt your regular workflow, which can have costly repercussions. A lot of time and money is spent on investigating the accident, completing reports (incidents, near-miss, OSHA recordables, workers’ compensation, etc.), staying in contact with the injured employee and his or her medical providers, training replacement employees, and implementing return-to-work policies and procedures. Businesses can prevent these investigative costs by simply being proactive when it comes to safety.
Cost of Employee Retention
A new survey conducted by EMPLOYERS, found that the safety of the work environment was among the top criteria employees consider when evaluating a new job offer. With the U.S. unemployment rate at 4.1%, businesses are finding it harder than ever to fill their workforce with talent. In order to motivate job seekers, business owners can leverage a safe workplace. Furthermore, by demonstrating support for employees, employers encourage attendance and produce happier and more motivated employees.
A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH
An effective safety culture doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a comprehensive approach and a “large commitment on behalf of the entire company.” One of the simplest ways to convey the importance of health and safety is to provide employees with appropriate equipment, first aid supplies, and proper training.
Here are some tips from Industrial Safety & Hygiene News for building and improving your safety culture include doing the following:
- Define safety responsibilities. Do this for each level within your organization. This should include policies, goals, and plans for the safety culture.
- Share your safety vision. Everyone should be on the same page when establishing goals and objectives for their safety culture.
- Enforce accountability. Create a process that holds everyone accountable for being visibly involved, especially managers and supervisors. They are the leaders for a positive change.
- Provide multiple options for employees to bring their concerns or issues full-face. This can include the ability to talk to multiple people in different leadership positions or a place to voice concerns (such as a suggestion box or employee meeting).
- Report, report, report. Educate employees on the importance of reporting injuries, first aids and near misses. Prepare for an increase in incidents if currently there is under-reporting. It will level off eventually.
- Rebuild the investigation system. Evaluating the incident investigation system is critical to make sure investigations are conducted in an effective manner. This should help get to the root cause of accidents and incidents.
- Build trust. When things start to change in the workplace, it is important to keep the water calm. Building trust will help everyone work together to see improvements.
- Celebrate success. Make your efforts public to keep everyone motivated and updated throughout the process.
Safety compliance not only improves your business’s bottom line, but it also contributes to the overall quality of life of your employees. Workers who suffer a disability can lose 40 percent of their income over five years, according to OSHA. Businesses play a huge role in making sure their employees return to their families in the same condition they began their day, which also promotes successful lives and families.
THE RIGHT SOLUTION
Workplace safety requires ongoing involvement. Depending on the size and field of your operations, it might take a full-time position to ensure employees are safe and your business is compliant. For those who don’t have an on-site safety management team, an outsourced service or vendor is also a valuable tool.
A fully managed first aid and safety program will significantly contribute to an organization’s safety culture. From flame resistant and high visibility garment options, to first aid and safety supplies, CITY is proud of its ability to provide multiple safety options for our clients.
“After having CITY’s uniform program for about seven years, CITY approached us with a quote for a first aid program,” said Lee Fisher, general manager for Shottenkirk Chevy located in Waukee, Iowa. “I’m glad they did, because we have saved about 40 percent compared to our previous national provider. We now stay better stocked without being overly supplied, and I feel a lot better knowing we always have what we need for our personnel.”
All in a Good Days Work
“Safety first, safety always” is a good concept to keep in mind each and every day to ensure everyone arrives at work and returns home safely. Workplace safety can be accomplished through culture, continuous improvement plans, and proper actions. But workplace safety will only reach its full potential if effective leadership and employee engagement are in place.
As a vendor of first aid and facility services, we help our clients keep their employees safe, healthy, and productive. With trained representatives, we know what it takes to stay compliant, as well as improve health and morale. We can even save client’s money compared to other providers. We keep it clean and simple so you can be safe and protected.
To speak with one of our trained first aid and facility service representatives, visit https://www.citycleanandsimple.com/firstaid/