Worker safety continues to be front and center for businesses of all sizes and should not be ignored by small business. The obvious risks for a small business when a Lone or at Risk worker is injured; Loss of Productivity, potential legal issues, increase in insurance premiums and negative press.
If you run your own business, it’s important to think about lone worker safety. It’s no longer viable for small business owners to ignore this issue. The topic has become a growing concern across many industries, and governments have laws to help protect employees who work alone for significant periods of time.
However, you don’t need to be prodded by the law to prioritize the safety of employees who work alone. There are ramifications for the business if this issue is ignored. The result of disregarding the welfare of lone workers is that it can cost a lot more in the end:
- You can be sued. Employees who are hurt while they’re working alone can easily find a lawyer willing to press a suit, to allege the business and the owner didn’t do enough to protect them. They have very compelling evidence, starting with the fact that the employee was hurt. The suit can gain media attention, and it’s very likely the victim can easily start a smear campaign against the business through social media.
- Negative press can result. Any suit can be reported to the media, and these news reports can put the business in a very bad light. Even without a lawsuit, the resulting news reports regarding the injury suffered by an employee can make people think less of the company. They may feel that you don’t care about people, so why should they believe that you care about customers? The brand can gain a reputation for cold-heartedness and a lack of concern for people, and that’s not really an image you want to establish.
- Insurance premiums will increase. When an employee is hurt while doing their job, the company will have to shoulder the bulk of the medical expenses. It will only cost a few dollars to increase the safety of your workers through personal alarms and dependable communication. The cost of such measures will be cheap especially compared to the costs of medical bills.
Of course, the insurance company may actually pay for the medical treatment. But that also means the company will pay higher premiums as a result. The shop could be categorized as a dangerous workplace environment, and it will cost more each month to insure the safety of employees.
- Productivity will decrease. As a business owner or manager, worker productivity is obviously something to be encouraged. But having people work alone without adequate safeguards is detrimental to productivity.
It’s not only when people get hurt and they need to miss work due to their injuries that reduces productivity. It’s also because your employees are working knowing that they’re at risk. That can lead them to lose focus on their actual job as they instead worry about their safety. In addition, they may feel that the business is not doing all that it should to ensure their safety. That can lead to worker dissatisfaction, and morale can suffer as a result. Some may even want to change jobs just so they won’t have to work alone anymore.
It makes perfect sense for a business to optimize operating costs by cutting down unnecessary expenses. But a small business owner must realize that ensuring the safety of employees is a paramount responsibility. It makes good business sense. Investing in protecting employees who work alone is good for profit margins, reputation and peace of mind. These are all good for business.
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