December 30, 2019
Beyond expensive and potentially tragic injuries, unsafe workplaces lead to high employee churn. When businesses consciously communicate about safety with their workforce, employees understand that they are valuable. Therefore, improving workplace safety both reduces turnover and increases retention into the future.
Blue-collar workers in the United States actively expect injury.
A national survey by The Hartford Financial Services Group found that 58% of blue-collar households have “a family member who has been injured on the job, requiring medical attention.” As a result, the average blue-collar worker expects to be injured on the job at least once, even while office workers believe that they can expect only a slight chance of injury.
A study conducted by Antea Group, a consulting firm, discovered that only 55% of blue-collar employees are willing to discuss a lack of safe practices in their workplaces with co-workers and superiors. Of course, businesses cannot address employees’ thoughts about safety if employees feel uncomfortable with expressing their concerns.
At the same time, many blue-collar workers do not exhibit knowledge of their own workers’ compensation benefits. The Hartford survey found that only 62% of respondents knew that on-the-job injuries would be covered by workers’ compensation. Other workers erroneously believed that the employer’s medical insurance, their own disability insurance, or their own personal savings would pay medical expenses from work-related injuries. Similarly, most workers did not know that they would still receive a high percentage of their salary in the case of an injury-related leave of absence.
Evidently, the American blue-collar workplace has a problem. High rates of injury cause employees to anticipate injuries in the future. At the same time, workers are uncomfortable with discussing safety concerns, and they lack information about the benefits available to them in the case of injury.
Therefore, many frontline workers expect injury in the workplace with little compensation. Yet, they feel that they must keep safety concerns private. Over time, this mindset wears down employee morale, leading to lower satisfaction and higher turnover.
Better communication with employees could resolve the problems caused by workers’ poor perceptions of workplace safety.
Firms ought to clearly communicate the range of workers’ compensation benefits available to injured workers. When safety improvements enter into effect, firms should ensure that employees know. There is a pervasive problem of a pessimistic viewpoint toward employee safety; the solution is correcting this pessimism by correcting employees’ misunderstandings.
For workplaces seeking to improve safety conditions in 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration lists some useful statistics, including the most frequently violated federal standards for workplace safety. Liberty Mutual Insurance likewise compiled a list of 2019’s top ten disabling injuries in the workplace.
Most of all, companies ought to simply ask their workers about their safety concerns in an anonymous fashion. Because employees express discomfort with approaching management, management can bridge the communication gap by approaching employees first.
Learn how Qlicket creates anonymous employee surveys for frontline workplaces, equipping businesses to make decisions that improve employee satisfaction and retention.