Workplace safety is an issue that is top of mind for any organization. It is an employer’s duty—often legal responsibility to protect those in their employ. While most businesses have at least some safety protocols in place for their staff, protecting employees from violence, injury and medical emergency continues to be a significant challenge for employers.
Ideas and Insights
for Safety Champions
There were an estimated 8000 fatal workplace deaths and 2.8 million non-fatal work-related illnesses or injuries in the United States in 2019. Reducing both the human and financial cost of workplace incidents is a critical element of long-term success, and a robust safety culture is a proven leading factor in making this happen. Success, however, requires buy-in. Everyone needs to engage in creating a safety conscious environment.
Among the litany of ways in which COVID has changed the business landscape, one area of significant growth is the increase in lone workers. Whether working from home or in more socially distanced contexts, more and more individuals find themselves working in environments where they are the only employee present. This is especially true in the healthcare field, where COVID has accelerated an already developing trend—the rise of in-home healthcare. From organizations who have worked in this space for decades, such as Visiting Nurse Associations, to new players both big and small, “The doctor is in” … literally.
Safety is often seen as the perpetual enemy of productivity. There is an anecdotal tendency to see safety parameters as hindrances that will only slow the process of getting the job done. There is just one problem with this notion – it’s not only wrong, it can be very dangerous.
One of the many things the pandemic surfaced is how employers monitor lone workers. A Harvard Business Review article found that even before we were all sent home to work, over 60% of C-suite executives reported leveraging digital tools to collect employee data (HBR, 2020). This “corporate surveillance” has left employees hesitant and suspicious of company-mandated apps and programs.