Misconceptions or preconceived notions about workplace safety can significantly impact nearly every aspect of your business. From employee retention and public perception to financial gains and losses you'll want to beware of the most common myths about workplace safety that keep your business from growing.
1. MYTH: Investing in workplace health and safety training is too expensive.
LET'S FACE IT: While workplace safety and health training requires some upfront costs, it pales in comparison to the costs your business will have to pay after a serious accident or injury occurs. A notable study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company revealed that over 60% of CFOs reported that each $1 invested in injury prevention returned $2 or more. Not only do these necessary programs give you a return on your investment, they also save you thousands of dollars in indirect costs that must be paid after an accident happens. These include out-of-pocket expenses such as replacing damaged products, training and compensating replacement workers, OSHA fines, administrative expenses and the list goes on. Undoubtedly, completing thorough safety training and implementing safety programs in your business will save you money, time and valuable resources.
2. MYTH: Accidents will happen no matter what precautions we take.
LET'S FACE IT: This dangerous mindset takes workers out of the driver's seat and relinquishes the power of our own accountability. Safety is not something that happens all by itself without any planning, effort or action. In fact, it's just the opposite. Creating a safe environment requires constant mindfulness, attention to detail, and proactive thinking. Safety isn't something we observe but rather something we practice every single day of our lives. Accidents oftentimes occur when we are in a hurry or just simply not paying attention.
3. MYTH: My employees know how to protect themselves and work safely without formal training.
LET'S FACE IT: We should never assume what someone knows or doesn't know. What may seem obvious to one person could be completely overlooked by another. Assuming your employees already know-it-all is a recipe for disaster that could endanger lives and cost you financially.
4. MYTH: We work in an office and don't have to worry about any workplace hazards.
LET'S FACE IT: Although every work environment has varying degrees of danger and exposure to potential hazards, every workplace, even offices, are subject to accidents, injuries and illnesses. In fact, one might argue that sedentary work environments face especially dangerous health and safety challenges, as inactivity can result in a number of serious health problems. For example, according to Mayo Clinic, people who sit for prolonged periods of time are at greater risk of obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, heart disease and even cancer. Having a clear understanding of the safety hazards in your workplace allows you to promote a healthier and safer workday for employees. Healthier employees mean fewer health insurance claims, missed workdays, and ultimately, reduces the likelihood of preventable accidents.
5. MYTH: Workplace safety only affects one aspect of our business.
LET'S FACE IT: This misconception can be especially damaging because it fails to see the bigger, long-term picture for your business. It's important to keep things in perspective and remember that employees are people too, with lives and loved ones outside of work. But even beyond that, it's vital to keep in mind that your customers, partners, investors, affiliates and the public are also paying close attention to your business. Investing in your employees and their safety sends a strong message that you care about their wellbeing, and positively impacts the way you are perceived by the key players you rely on to do business. When you invest in your team, people surely take notice and your reputation benefits as a direct result.
Consider if your business succumbs to any of these misconceptions and foster a team that is safer, healthier and happier to come to work every day. Your business will see improvements in customer service, morale, production, retention, reputation and your bottom line over time — all essential to the growth and longevity of your business.