According to the United States Department of Labor, 14 people are killed on the job every day. Workplace health and safety concerns are truly a life and death matter.
All workers want to feel safe in their workplace. People want to know the organization for which they work is looking after them. When your employees feel your company truly cares about their well-being, they’ll pay you back in ways that boost the bottom line.
Here are three major benefits a strong health and safety culture can have for your company:
1. A Safety-Centric Culture Flattens Hierarchies
Beyond the obvious benefits of a safe workplace, one you may not be immediately aware of is the way a strong focus on health and safety can reshape your organization for the better.
When health and safety are embedded into your organization’s processes and culture, you need not employ unnecessary supervisors to look after these concerns — because employees themselves will be prioritizing them. Thus, you can employ a flatter management structure.
Here’s what the Health and Safety Executive, Britiain’s government organization in charge of workplace safety, has to say on the matter:
“Workplaces where employees are involved in [m]aking decisions about health and safety are safer and healthier. Your employees influence health and safety through their own actions. They are often the best people to understand the risks in their workplace.”
When employees are involved in health and safety initiatives, they build stronger bonds with one another. They take more responsibility for themselves and their colleagues — which boosts workplace satisfaction, motivation, and results.
2. Your Profits Will Grow
A responsible health and safety culture can also improve your profit margins. According to one study, a $10,000 investment in health and safety over 13-15 years could lead to a company outperforming the S&P 500!
When workers feel safer, they feel more valued. In return, they will be more committed to your company’s aims and goals. To quote the Health and Safety Executive again,
“A workforce that feels valued and involved in decision-making plays a big part in a high-performing workplace. Empowering your workforce, giving them the right skills, and getting them involved in making decisions shows them that you take their health, safety, and well-being seriously.”
There will also be less disruption to your business, as your staff will have fewer sick days and there will be fewer injuries at work. All of this means your business can operate at full capacity.
3. Your Brand Will Be Strengthened
The fact that your business takes care of its employees can be a real selling point to both candidates and customers alike. Candidates will see your ethical behavior as a sign that you really invest in employees. Meanwhile, customers and shareholders will appreciate your social responsibility — an increasingly important factor in business decisions for many consumers and investors today.
We have come a long way since the days when health and safety were non-issues in the eyes of employers, and we should fight to protect this hard-won change.
But aside from the clear moral justifications and legal obligations, there are also real business benefits to protecting your workers. Employees will be more committed, consumers will have more confidence, and your shareholders will be happier.
To quote David Rowland, head of marketing at Effective Software, “Health and safety improvements can have a more direct impact on important business KPIs than directors currently give them credit for.”
James Hughes is a freelance HR consultant and writer.