As we head to work each day, our minds are often occupied with things we’re going to do after our shift ends. Stop by the store. Call a friend. Catch that movie you’ve been meaning to see.
No one goes off to work thinking they will get injured or killed, and yet workplace accidents claim thousands of lives each year and leave hundreds of thousands of workers injured.
Whether it happens to you, a loved one, or one of your employees, a workplace accident can drastically change the course of your day, your evening, or your life.
It’s more than just regulations
For many business owners and managers, workplace safety is all about keeping up with various industry standards and OSHA regulations. Safety is important, but primarily from a liability perspective, with the main goal being to make sure the company is officially in compliance and won’t be hit with costly fines or lawsuits.
But workplace safety should be about more than just meeting standards and avoiding penalties. It should be about working smarter and safer to ensure that everyone gets to go home at the end of their shift.
The best time to care about workplace safety
The ideal time to focus on employee safety is well before someone gets hurt.
Unfortunately, many managers think their employees don’t care about workplace safety. They’ve watched staff members fall asleep in trainings, roll their eyes during meetings, and push back on new safety processes and requirements.
The truth is, your employees care a lot about workplace safety. It is something that affects them on a very personal level, every single day and they are well aware of the hazards that surround them on the job.
If you really think your employees don’t care about safety, just wait until an accident happens. There is no quicker or more expensive way to learn this important lesson.
If your staff seems cynical about your safety efforts, there could be some very valid reasons:
- They sense you’re just going through the motions
- Your safety trainings are outdated, rushed, or half-hearted
- When employees bring up genuine concerns, they are glossed over or ignored
- Management disciplines for safety violations but doesn’t reward for safe behaviors
- Leadership says it can’t afford to implement measures that would keep employees safe
- Supervisors enforce safety rules erratically and look the other way when it’s convenient
- Your company says it wants workers to be safe, but is constantly asking or expecting employees to do things that are unsafe
People can tell the difference between an employer who merely talks about workplace safety and one who truly cares about keeping people safe on the job.
Make employee safety your priority
Employers who look at employee safety as nothing more than a checklist are missing out on an opportunity to build a culture where safety not only becomes the norm, it becomes an asset. Just think about how your employees would feel and behave if they knew for a fact that you cared about them as people, and not just risk factors.
When you go the extra mile to make your employees a top priority, they will feel it. Not only will they work harder and stick around longer, they’ll be much more likely to actively participate in workplace safety meetings, trainings, and programs.
Invest in a culture of safety and you may be surprised at the many benefits a safer workplace can bring. Not the least of which is making sure everyone gets home at the end of the day.
Is your benefits broker also a compliance consultant? How about a trusted business partner? Are you confident your policies and processes are doing what they need to ensure that your company—and your employees— are healthy and productive? At Combined, this is what we do for Los Angeles employers every single day.