We don’t know when disaster or emergency will strike
So, what’s the deal with business employee safety? It was a typical workday Friday at the stationery shop that seemed no different from any other Friday. With the week winding down and everyone excited about their weekend plans, nobody thought much about this particular day.
It was past 3 pm when the last boxed merchandise was unloaded from the truck. This batch represented a 20 percent surplus from the usual stock levels in anticipation of the Black Friday sale.
Boxes were stacked as high as about a foot from the ceiling to accommodate the excess volume. Doreen was in charge of the storeroom. She has coffee and snacks at the pantry after all the hard work since 10 AM.
Thirty minutes into her second cup of steaming hot joe, third twinkie, and trying to remember where she left her mobile phone, the fire alarm blared.
Doreen realized that the faint burning smell her nose caught earlier was not the aroma of the brewing coffee. But, the smell of the carton boxes caught fire. Her instinct told her to make a run for it.
Knowing a nearby fire exit, she dashed the narrow pathway to the door. It could have been the panic she felt. It could have been the dimly lit corridor, or it could have been the clutter strewn all around.
All she could remember when she woke up in Intensive Care was sprawling on the ground a few feet away from the exit door. And was coughing and half choking from the smoke as her co-workers pulled her to safety.
Why should companies make every effort to ensure safety and health in their workplace?
As we all know, companies and employers must implement workplace health and safety practices for business employee safety. Not only is it statutory or mandated by law, but it also makes good business sense. Although many companies strive to do this as diligently as possible, there is still a high incidence of work-related injuries that turn into compensation claims of employees. Not precisely any business owner’s cup of tea.
These compensation claims not only hurt the company’s bottom line at face value. But, in the long run, it may cause a domino effect and reduce employee satisfaction. And a sense of security, slash their productivity, and worse, decrease retention/increase the turnover of employees.
Workers who may feel dissatisfied and unsafe are more likely to begin looking for “greener” and “safer” pastures to graze on.
Today, we look deeper at the various aspects of this topic and talk about different ways. And means by which to deal with them accordingly.
Why are both the safety of employee/employees and labor safety in the business important?
Given the high costs of work-related illnesses, injuries, and even work-related deaths that dig deep into the pockets of business owners, we could definitely say that ‘Safety is King,’ with the top reasons being:
- Reduces health risks for employees
- Positive business image to prospective employees, business partners, and/or consumers
- Reduces the chance of lawsuits from disgruntled employees and possible administrative fines from government agencies
- Lowers EMR (Experience Modifier Rate) for workers comp premiums
- More importantly, provides a work environment that is high in morale that naturally translates to loyalty, better productivity, lower absenteeism, and employee turnover, for that matter.
What’s going on in business employee safety?
The National Safety Council estimated the total cost of workplace accidents at $ 161.5 billion in 2017 alone, where $12.5 billion of these expenses come from uninsured employers. This also includes 104,000,000 days lost in the same year due to occupational accidents.
In the coming years, another 55,000,000 days of fatal injuries and permanent disability were also forecasted and may rise. Also, according to the file of claims dating from 2016 to 2017, the most expensive claims are due to motor vehicle accidents, which averaged $ 78,293 per submitted case across the United States.
The only other injuries at work with high costs were burns, slip & fall, and being caught in machinery. This may seem like a jumble of numbers. But all of this means more expenses and losses in revenue. And productivity for many companies and a massive headache for business owners.
A recent national survey done by the Hartford Financial Services Group found that 58 percent of blue-collared families have had run-ins with workplace accidents where their family member was involved and that it required urgent medical attention.
A typical blue-collar worker expects to be injured at least once. Whereas a white-collar employee anticipates being “slight-injured” even once.
The reality is that not all workplaces have good safety measures in place. This includes protocols, practices, and infrastructure, the most important of which is insurance.
A similar study also revealed that employees know this fact all too well. And, believe it or not, they are even anticipating, albeit unwillingly, being injured at work and encountering these challenges first-hand. Also, 55 percent of them are willing to sit down. Discuss these issues with co-workers, managers, and business owners to allay their fears and worries.
The Bottom Line and Business Employee Satisfaction and Safety
Companies, regardless of their corporate nature, size, orientation, or advocacy, all bat for the same thing – a hefty bottom line. This is called as so as it pertains to the bottom figure of the Income Statement, which is the Net Income – “the meat of the pie.”
In the traditional Accounting sense, it is the end financial result after all the workings and interactions of the company’s Assets, Liabilities, Capital, Revenue, Expenses, and even Drawings.
On top of the list is “Asset,” defined as a resource with an economic value that an individual or corporation has. Or the country owns or controls it, expecting it to provide a future benefit.
Recently, however, and more relevantly in the eyes of modern Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM), Employees are now considered a company’s most valuable asset.
Gone are the days when Scrooge-type employers rule the industries enriching themselves at the expense of the blue-collar lot. These people are made to skip Christmas Eve with their families and other personal liberties, all for another measly buck.
It is now the generation of well-rounded entrepreneurs such as $4 Billion business magnate Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Atlantic Group. They were voted among the top 7 employers to best work for.
Branson believes that if the company takes care of its employees, everything else will take care of itself. The company’s people-centered culture has since created a mark in the business industry and has become the signature of employees under the Virgin Group.
This explains the high level of customer service and engagement observed as one interacts with their brand, which quite easily exudes from their collective culture.
Consequently, a high level of customer service delivery translates to happier clients who keep returning and spreading the good word to other potential customers who find the need to experience it and who later become satisfied patrons. No wonder the strong performance and showing of Virgin Companies and other companies who practice the same.
Business Employee Safety and Insurance
In deriving the employee compensation premium, the company payroll is divided by 100 and then by a factor or ‘class rate’ determined by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI).
The main consideration is the job classification reflecting the inherent risk associated with a particular job. Say, a construction worker versus an office clerk, where the former is more at risk of injury than the latter. This only shows that a higher premium can be attributed to a higher probability of injury and an insurance claim.
An EMR or Employee Modifier Rate may increase or decrease the number of premiums, but that all depends on incidences of a past claim, vis-a-vis anticipated chances of claims in the future. The industry norm is an EMR value of 1.0. But whatever the figure is, the rating sticks around for three years until the subsequent evaluation.
What can be done?
With certain jobs prone to various types of injury or accidents and a massive rise of workers comp claims in many companies in the United States, how can companies manage and control the safety of employees? How can anyone lower their Experience Modifier Rating or EMR?
Here are a few tips:
Education and Training
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Of course, taking the time to train staff is exhausting. Showing the correct posture or tool for a task can be as labor-intensive as the task itself.
Ensuring bright warning signs are placed where needed is tedious and expensive. Many online compliance training courses can be availed that can benefit your employees and your business.
Ultimately, it is less stressful and costly than the billions of dollars lost through serious, non-fatal, and fatal work-related injuries. Workers comp claims that bump up your insurance premiums.
Regular Safety Checks and Maintenance
After becoming familiar with safety and its importance in the workplace, you must ensure that all equipment is functional. Keeping working conditions safe is also a crucial element in safety.
If an employee finds that equipment is defective. Or, If any tools need to be replaced, this must be reported immediately to avoid further danger to other on-site employees.
Manage and Enforce Security Protocols
An entire fleet of cars can be monitored or tracked for performance and if they’re in possible danger. Keeping one person safe is fantastic! But the security of your business and the people your business services. The community your business belongs to is even better!
When the going gets tough, we need to call the experts. Whether it’s occupational and worker safety or simply asking for guidance from insurance experts, knowing when to ask for help is detrimental to success.
Life after accident
The investigation revealed that the fire started from Doreen’s mobile phone charger that overheated as it was plugged into a wall socket inside the stockroom for too long while being too close to the carton boxes. The inquiry also highlighted several occupational hazards and malpractices aggravating the dire situation.
First, the stacking of merchandise too close to the fire sprinklers prevented it from operating optimally.
Second, corridors or pathways leading to secondary emergency exits must be well-illuminated. Free from tripping or blocking hazards to give way to speedy and smooth exiting in case of emergencies.
Third, employees should have been educated or, at the very least, aware of basic workplace safety and health protocols. This is given that their life and limbs are on the line, to begin with.
If you need sound advice, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will always make your life hassle-free and stress-free by finding the perfect solution for your insurance needs. At Advantage Insurance Solutions (AIS) we can assure you of quality protection for individuals, families, and businesses in Denver, CO, and throughout the United States by helping you choose the best carrier for your insurance needs.