While we all know health is a priority, in and out of the workplace, it’s surprising how many entrepreneurs ignore worker safety. After all, it’s something that we all think we understand but when business owners are starting out and they believe they have more important things to worry about, focusing their efforts on health and safety may seem a wasted endeavor. But many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of thinking that their workers just need to exercise reasonable care. But this mindset is detrimental to a business. One injury in the workplace can cause such an impact on a company that, financially and professionally speaking, a business could be wiped out. As such, you need to consider the following:
Health and Safety Has a Direct Impact on Contracts
It is becoming more common for companies to ask for safety data as part of a bid. If you are bidding for a contract and a prospective vendor sees a poor safety record, this could lose you a very lucrative deal. This is why it’s important for you to look at your relationship with external safety providers, whether this is emergency response services or a supplier of health and safety training. These little obligations can have a massive impact on your business’s abilities to win contracts and grow exponentially.
The Cost of an Injury in the Workplace Can Be Massive
When you look at how much an injury costs to an employer, in direct and indirect costs, this can significantly eat into your overheads. According to the Department of Labor, a fracture can cost an employer $95,000. When you start to consider your business costs, especially in those first few years, this is why you’ve got to be on the ball in terms of worker safety.
Injuries Can Injure a Business Brand
There can be catastrophic accidents that could damage a business brand for life. While there are numerous examples in terms of oil spills, you don’t have to damage your business much for it to struggle back from the brink. After spending so long cultivating a business brand and understanding what a customer sees in you, to destroy this by having a semi-serious accident in the workplace or being liable for something through a defective product can tarnish your reputation overnight. While learning to put out these fires is something that every business needs to understand, it’s not always possible depending on the nature of the damage caused. When a business is damaged in terms of its brand, sometimes the only option can be to undergo a rebranding. But rebranding doesn’t mean you are able to wipe the slate clean. It doesn’t take much digging for someone to find out what you once traded as. And there will be competitors more than happy to drag your new name through the dirt by providing links with your old business brand.
Is Insurance the Big Savior?
When you start to think about injury claims made by your workers, you might think that the right insurance policy covers all. In fact, insurance policies don’t cover everything you think they might. While an insurance carrier covers problems like workplace liability, you may find that the costs of repaying the employer and the insurance company, directly and indirectly, may be larger than you think. Because an insurance provider pays a portion of direct injury costs, this means you’ve got to cover the indirect costs such as fines. As fines provided by the government aren’t covered by insurers, you may find the cost of paying one injury could run your business into the ground. Indirect costs can cost up to 20 times as much as direct ones.
This is why it’s crucial to invest in health and safety upfront. Many entrepreneurs consider this to be low on the priority list, but a small event can set the wheels in motion to damage a business irreparably. And while it’s something that employers need to think about, it’s not about putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. The most important thing is to invest in the right practices. This isn’t just about having a health and safety officer; it’s about ensuring that the business, in a cultural sense, has an understanding of what it needs to do to operate safely. This is important in the office but it’s also crucial externally when dealing with the public who buy your products. As health and safety may very well be one of those boring things that you have to pay lip service to, when you manage injuries it’s actually easier than you think. Not to mention the fact that it can improve morale in such a simple way in an office environment.