Safety procedures can help companies reduce their legal liability. Legal liabilities often occur when employees or customers are injured during the companyвs regular course of business. Injured employees may have less legal options than customers. Many employees sign arbitration agreements that allow the company to limit their loss from safety procedure incidents. Customers injured from lack of safety procedures can sue using a lawyer or petition a watchdog group to audit the company. Small businesses usually have fewer resources for protecting themselves against major legal liabilities. Safety procedures may help prevent this type of exposure in the business environment.
Employees have a legal right to expect a safe and healthy work environment.
Even though it may seem as if workplace health and safety is an obligation and cost to business owners, it has advantages in productivity and loyalty. Business owners must understand that a safe workplace is a key component to developing a positive corporate culture. Most employers would agree that preventing accidents and potential death to employees is a natural priority. Most safety issues don\’t arise out of nefarious intentions but come when businesses cut corners and don\’t take the time to train their employees properly on safety protocols. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration estimates that employers pay nearly $1 million each week in workers\’ compensation costs. Employers are required to have workers\’ compensation insurance policies, but injuries increase the basic costs.
Also, if an employer is underinsured, the gap of coverage is the responsibility of the employer. Employers must continue to pay employees who miss work while they are out as a result of a workplace injury or illness. If the absence is long-term, the business might need to hire another person to replace the injured employee temporarily. In construction or manufacturing plants, an injury might result in the shutdown of the entire operation until an investigation is conducted. Workplace injuries and unsafe working environments are bad for employee morale. An employee who is concerned about being hurt isn\’t able to devote full attention to daily work tasks. Employers who maintain a safe and healthy work environment and conduct employee training on safety build a stronger relationship with employees.
Employees no longer feel like a means to an end but part of a team working together. This creates loyalty and increases team morale, which has a direct correlation to productivity. A company that operates in an unsafe manner can turn away customers. A restaurant that uses unsafe cooking practices isn\’t going to attract customers because they fear illness. Similarly, customers don\’t want to walk into a cluttered store with potential tripping hazards. Business owners must understand that safety goes well beyond their employees. When thinking about productivity, positive team morale increases positive customer interactions, which leads to customer retention and loyalty.
The Department of Labor oversees the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Simply put, the act states that people have a right to feel and be safe at work. It sets forth minimum standards for various industries and work environments. Current OSHA posters must be posted in places where all employees can read and review them at will. Should employers violate safety laws, legal and financial ramifications may occur. Accidents happen even in the safest workplaces. Even if employers have workers\’ compensation insurance, if they are negligent in providing a safe and healthy work environment, employees or a deceased employee\’s family can sue for damages. For some small businesses, the resulting lawsuit could bankrupt the company.