According to a 2022 State of Employee Safety Report, 90% of American workers believe employers are obligated to keep employees safe at work, agreeing that organizations have a “legal and moral obligation to protect employees from unnecessary risk of harm when working or traveling on their behalf.”
Despite this widespread belief, we often see companies in the news due to safety hazards. A recent example is Amazon. While this company has had enormous success, according to Forbes, the company has an average employee turnover rate of 150%, double the industry average. Beyond the general sentiment that employers owe employees a safe workplace, this turnover costs Amazon and its shareholders $8 billion annually.
Business owners can prevent similar outcomes for their organizations by implementing a company-wide safety and health program.
What Is a Safety and Health Program?
A comprehensive Safety and Health Program aims to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths by taking a proactive approach toward employee wellness. A successful program will help to anticipate and mitigate potential hazards before they occur.
Employers typically begin by inspecting the workplace for any concerns, investigating recent incidents to prevent repeat outcomes, and considering hazards that may occur in rare instances. Then, new processes are implemented to eliminate as many risks as possible.
An effective Safety and Health Program goes hand in hand with workers’ compensation, which protects both the employer and the employee in the event of an incident. Creating and enforcing a Safety and Health Program minimizes the risk of lawsuits and fines in the first place, while workers’ compensation covers any incidents that do occur.
How Can Safety and Health Impact Employee Retention?
Employee safety affects retention in a few key ways. First, the obvious: employees who are sick or injured can’t contribute to the company’s productivity. Depending on the nature of the incident, it may take weeks, months, or years to reclaim these lost contributions.
Health and safety incidents also affect company morale. Employees who see their colleagues experience illness or injury are likely to fear for their well-being, which may lead them to consider other roles or not work as hard. Employees want to work for employers who care about their well-being.
What Are the Benefits for Employers?
According to OSHA, there are many reasons to invest in employee health and safety. First, as a business decision, employers implementing effective safety programs can expect to reduce the costs associated with illness and injury, which amounted to $171 billion in the US in 2019.
Additional cost savings are associated with lower workers’ compensation premiums, fewer medical expenses, lower employee turnover, and higher productivity. In other words, investing in the health and safety of your team members benefits your business long-term by boosting employee retention and production.
You can learn more about OSHA guidelines and what to expect here.
How to Lower Risk by Partnering With a PEO (Co-employer)
Many organizations maximize these benefits by partnering with PEOs (professional employer organizations). This arrangement is also called co-employment, and it’s a way for organizations to share risk with an outside provider.
Concerns surrounding safety, risk management, and workers’ compensation are some of the most common reasons employers partner with PEOs.
PEOs provide tools for their clients to mitigate risk and workplace accidents. These tools include creating safety manuals, offering safety training, and committees. In addition, to help you stay prepared, they can provide a mock OSHA inspection and OSHA log guidance.
They also help in the case of fraudulent workers’ comp claims by investigating the claim and providing post-injury drug testing. If one of your team members does get injured on the job, a PEO can provide a return-to-work program to help get them back to work sooner.
Your current safety and health measures often reflect the general health of your business.
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