- 90% of American workers believe that their employers have a duty to keep them safe on the job.
- Worker perception of how seriously employers take safety is not in alignment with worker expectations and senses of importance towards it.
- Frequent communication about commitments to safety and procedures in place for the sake of safety is something that employees desire from their employers.
Safety in the workplace is something workers take to be of paramount importance as to whether they stay at a job or leave it – whether they apply for a job, or pass on it.
This perception is profoundly important to keep in mind because it is the duty of an employer to maintain necessary safety standards in a work setting.
Not only that, but a lack of safety – or, even a perception of a lack of safety – is a deal-breaker for the vast majority of workers.
Workers value safety in the workplace
Data from Alert Media’s State of Employee Safety report makes it crystal clear that workers value safety. If, for instance, an employee finds out that, in the case of an emergency, that their employer failed to inform them of that emergency, that:
- 38% would feel unsafe at their workplace
- 34% would question whether they want to stay at their place of work
- 25% would begin looking for new job opportunities
- 64% of employees think their employer’s safety communication needs work
This is bolstered by the fact that 79% of employees report feeling more anxious about their health and well-being than ever before. Indeed, the second-highest motivation behind workers staying at their job – behind competitive compensation – is workplace safety.
Safety is non-negotiable and it shouldn’t have to be. 4 out of 5 workers have experienced an emergency at their place of work, so the concerns they have are quite tangible.
What are employees’ top safety concerns?
The safety concerns of each workplace may differ considerably. After all, a construction site is not a back or front office. If there is a buzzsaw in the office, that’s a problem in a way that it wouldn’t be on a construction site.
Nonetheless, when surveyed, workers typically suggest that their top workplace safety concerns – measured by whether they are considered “extremely worrying” – are public health emergencies (78%), cyber-attacks (65%), severe weather (65%), and crime (62%).
Another salient concern that workers have is returning to the office. Roughly a quarter of workers who worked remotely during the pandemic state they have safety concerns with returning back to the office.
How do workers think their employers are doing safety-wise?
Worker perception of how seriously employers take safety is not in alignment with worker expectations and senses of importance towards it.
That is, according to Alert Media’s study, 54% of workers believe that safety is extremely important to their employers.
Worse yet, 58% of workers believe that safety measures are either just met, or fail to meet expectations.
Now, it is unclear how justified this gap between expectations and perception is. However, it should worry employers just considering how important workplace safety is to employees.
If the perception among roughly half of the workers is that their employers either somewhat care or don’t care much about workplace safety, the result is going to be something approximating an increase in the population of Great Resigners.
How can employers improve safety and perception?
There are multiple strategies employers can use to improve how safe their workers feel in the workplace.
For starters, giving remote workers a hybrid option – or better, letting them continue working remotely – will help the small subset of workers who feel unsafe returning to the office feel safe.
Another way of doing this is by practicing efficient communication. On the one hand, half of employees are not confident that their employers will communicate effectively in the event of an emergency.
4 out of 10 workers state that if their employers communicated to them more frequently that this would make them feel that employers value safety.
Specifically, frequent communication about commitments to safety and procedures in place for the sake of safety is something that employees desire from their employers.
Ensuring that workers and the workplace are safe is the duty of employers. This isn’t just because employees say so, but it is the case morally and legally. Workplace malpractice exists for a reason.
At the moment, many employees perceive their employers as not caring that much about safety. Employees are increasingly worried about workplace safety – to the point where even inklings of its departure can be grounds for leaving a job.
Employers can easily take a stand to help ameliorate workers’ worries about safety. By communicating frequently about safety, plans, and procedures, employers can build a sense in employees that they actually do care about these issues.
Given the fact that failing to fix this perception amongst employees may lead to more people resigning from their job, it is imperative of an employer to ensure that they fix the perception that they don’t care all that much about safety in the workplace.