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The Hidden ROI of Employee Safety Initiatives: A Strategic Business Perspective

Every business wants to keep their workers safe, but many see it as a basic requirement of operation and little more. It may come as a surprise, then, that the Harvard Business Review has published an analysis suggesting that worker safety should not just be a thought, but the absolute number one priority in business operations. As with all business decisions, focus must come on the return on investment; how can worker safety strategy deliver the best value for money? The place to start is in considering workers compensation and the impact it has on business operations.

Workers comp and rates

Workers compensation is an essential part of any business. Mandated, and part of offering fairness to workers injured on the job. The cost of workers compensation schemes is significant. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employer cost for workers compensation averaged $45.52 per hour worked. This is as of December 2023.

This is clearly an area of great financial risk and expenditure and a place in which businesses can stand to make a lot of savings. When looking for workers compensation insurance options, businesses should look to hone in on options that best suit them. However, one of the most fundamental concepts of obtaining good insurance is to create conditions in which better premiums can be offered. In this case, that means protecting workers. There are a couple of low impact ways to do this which will help to improve the ‘employee ROI’.

Looking to mental health

One crucial area in which employers can do more to help employees is in mental health. There are an increasing amount of mental health diagnoses across the labor force, and this includes conditions less readily associated with work outside of the military – such as PTSD. According to Business Insurance magazine, there is an increasing likelihood that these conditions will attract workers comp liability, and perhaps should be included ahead of policies being agreed. For employers, creating plentiful space and time for employees with mental health conditions, and taking steps to support their treatment, will help them stay in work; avoiding compensation.

The holistic approach

Increasingly, health and safety is being seen through the prism of how it must be managed holistically. According to the National Security Council, in their ‘Journey to Safety Excellence’ guidance, businesses must not look at how they do their work and how that, solely, will contribute or detract from safety, but rather the entire picture. Are employees happy? Is their work-life balance supported? Are they well supported and happy at work? Taking the holistic approach will unearth facets of how employees like to be treated that will, in the long term, provide good ROI.

Strategic thinking of this ilk is crucial in supporting employees and in helping businesses to make the most out of every employee safety dollar spent. Reducing the burden of workers comp by ensuring that employees are supported and feel supported, too, is crucial.

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