Small Business Employees Value Workplace Safety
Small businesses struggling to attract competent employees to add to their workforce may be neglecting to address a factor job seekers hold in higher regard than may be expected: workplace safety.
A new survey conducted by Employers Holdings Inc. – a Reno, NV-based holding company with subsidiaries offering workers’ compensation insurance and services for small businesses – found that small business employees ranked workplace safety as a top priority. In the survey, workplace safety came in behind criteria that included compensation, nature of the work, and proximity to home.
But workplace safety outranked criteria such as quality of potential coworkers and opportunities for professional growth. The survey of 1,011 employees also showed that those working at a company employing between 86 and 100 workers are more likely to say their employer considers workplace safety a priority (96 percent) than those working at businesses with between one and nine employees (87 percent).
“In today’s tight labor market, it’s important that small businesses, which employ more than half of the American workforce, recognize safety of the work environment is a top priority for employees,” David Quezada, vice president of loss control at Employers, said in a written statement.
Of those surveyed, 17 percent said they never received workplace safety training. And a quarter of those who worked for a company with 9 or fewer employees reported never receiving safety training.
When it comes to reporting workplace safety concerns, 52 percent said they were comfortable reporting concerns to a business owner. Less than half – 48 percent – said they were comfortable speaking with a direct supervisor.
And 51 percent of women said they were more comfortable reporting safety issues, compared to 43 percent of men.
There were about 2.9 million non-fatal occupational injuries, and 4,836 fatal workplace injuries, reported by private industry employers in the U.S. 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.