Small and medium-sized businesses are the foundation of employment in America, accounting for roughly 65 percent of all new jobs established since 1995, and half of all positions currently held in the country, or 120 million people, according to Forbes.
While many owners have their eyes set on financial success, worker safety can't be tossed to the wayside. In fact, companies that place a premium on the health and wellness of their employees typically see a significant return on investment—all while keeping people safe on the job.
How does your business handle injuries?
Things move quickly within a fledgling business. The fact of the matter is, it's difficult to compete with established organizations without resorting to 12-hour days or work on the weekends. Building a company can be tiring and can exhaust even those with tremendous perseverance—but that's when it happens. A fall off of a ladder or a mistake with a power tool, and all of a sudden an employer is on the hook for pricey workers' compensation that can threaten the revenue stream.
Why does this happen? It's not just a question of overworked employees. In many cases, insufficient safety standards bear a lot of the blame. Far too many small to mid-sized businesses continue to fill out incident reports on paper, building up large filing cabinets with years of employee safety paperwork. The result? Those companies are unable to determine when the last injury was, why it occurred or how it affected production.
Key takeaway: These are signs that your worker safety program is outdated—and dangerous.
But just because you're competing with big business doesn't mean you need to spend with them as well. Employee safety may at first seem like an expensive line on the budget, but there are affordable safety management software solutions on the market—does the switch make sense for your business?
Understanding the importance of safety
During the Singapore Workplace Safety and Health conference, a shocking statistic was made public, according to Straits Times: 9 out of every 10 deaths in the construction industry could be attributed to employees learning unsafe behavior when training for the job. This line of thinking doesn't start with workers, though—it begins with the the company itself.
"A small business can see $4 to $6 in ROI for every $1 spent on employee safety."
The introduction of safety management software in a workplace environment demonstrates to employees that their health and wellness is a high priority. As it should be—businesses spend roughly $170 billion a year on injured workers, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported this cost can be cut down by one-third on average with the introduction of safety management systems.
In fact, business owners often see a return on investment of $4 to $6 for every $1 spent on improving safety in the workplace, according to OSHA. The initial cost can be seen as a barrier in some smaller organizations, but these unrealized savings can't be taken for granted. They stem from increased productivity due to reduced downtime from injuries, the absence of workers' compensation costs and legal costs associated with incidents.
What exactly does safety management software do?
- Allows digital OSHA injury report form submission, tracking and archiving.
- Provides access to federal and local employee safety audit checklists, training materials and key performance indicators to identify accomplishments or deficiencies.
- Facilitates a streamlined health and wellness program to make safety transparent for employees, and easy to maintain for safety managers.
There's a lot going on in any company, big or small, and safety software isn't always at the top of the list. Ultimately, though, an organization can't operate without its employees, and safety management software allows small businesses to invest in the thing that sets them apart from the competition—their workers. If better safety protocols, a safer workforce and an additional revenue stream all sound like areas your company wants to invest in, it may be time to transform your small or mid-sized business around health and wellness by embracing safety management software .