Safety is the foundation for a happy, productive workplace. When a company takes steps to prevent accidents and illnesses, it ensures employees and customers alike are its top priority. Here’s what that focus means for businesses.
Increasing Productivity And Morale
Safe workers are happy workers. When employees feel like their workplace cares about their safety, they have higher morale and are generally more productive. They may work faster and make fewer mistakes.
There’s also a positive feedback effect — happier workers are less likely to cause accidents in the first place. One study found that disengaged businesses where employees felt ignored saw up to an 8.69% increase in accidents.
High morale reduces absences and employee turnover, saving companies money in the long run. Conducting periodic safety training, replacing broken equipment and providing employees with proper PPE is a lot more affordable than repeatedly hiring and training new people.
Keeping workers safe and happy is good for a company’s bottom line, but even more important is knowing employees can return home to their families at the end of each workday.
In addition to productive workers earning a company more money, safety measures can prevent unnecessary expenses from accidents. For example, a restaurant with good hygiene measures can avoid causing a food poisoning outbreak, meaning it won’t have to pay patrons’ medical bills. A chemical plant that requires workers to wear PPE may prevent costly workplace injuries.
Additionally, some safety measures protect valuable workplace equipment so it doesn’t need as many repairs or replacements. For instance, regular government vehicle inspections protect worker safety and quickly catch any problems with the fleet. Workplace safety protocols can also prevent expensive damages from fires, flooding or chemical spills.
Providing a safe workplace isn’t just a nice benefit for workers and customers — it can also be a legal requirement. Most countries have strong health and safety requirements for workplaces, and complying with these laws is mandatory.
In the U.K., the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 requires employers to provide safety training for workers. It also governs things like creating emergency procedures, providing drinking water and having proper ventilation in work areas.
In the U.S., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration dictates that workers should have access to clean bathrooms and should not be exposed to known dangers at work, among other protections.
Complying with workplace health and safety laws helps companies avoid fines, closures and even jail time. Most importantly, it protects the employees and customers who keep businesses running.
Attracting Customers And Job Seekers
Applicants often keep workplace safety in mind when applying for positions. A recent Gallup poll found that 61% of employees rated work-life balance and wellbeing as very important when considering a job offer, compared to just 53% in 2015. Businesses that emphasize safety can advertise it in their job postings, potentially drawing in more job seekers and boosting their reputation as a great place to work.
Many customers want to buy ethically sourced products and services. The internet has made people increasingly conscious of companies’ treatment of their workers, and it’s easier than ever to seek out businesses that treat people fairly. Organizations with strong workplace health and safety measures will build a solid brand reputation, gain a competitive advantage and attract more customers. They may also get more backing from investors.
A Win-Win Solution
Companies that pride themselves on workplace safety stand out in a good way. They improve employee morale and efficiency, prevent costly accidents and stay in compliance with the law. Most importantly, they protect workers’ health and wellbeing. That’s why all businesses — big or small, no matter the industry — should make safety a top priority.
Jane is an environmental writer and the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she covers sustainability and eco-friendly living.