Employees Say Workplace Safety Is More Important Than Ever

Workplace safety in America isn't all about Covid-19: A new study finds workers still worry about emergencies like cyberattacks, severe weather, significant outages, and workplace violence.

A vast majority (90%) of workers believe their employer has a legal and moral obligation to protect them from unnecessary risk of harm, according to a new study from AlertMedia. But workplace safety in America isn’t just about on-site employees: The inaugural State of Employee Safety Report, based on a survey of 2,002 full-time employed American adults, also found that 82% of employees think employers’ obligation to keep employees safe extends to those working remotely.

workplace safety in America
(Source: Adobe Stock by WrightStudio)

As U.S. employers accept their new normal, AlertMedia’s research reveals that many employees remain apprehensive about their safety at work and unclear on protocol should an emergency arise that threatens their well-being or productivity. This heightened expectation of workplace safety comes as only half (55%) of working Americans feel their employer has made more of an effort to ensure their safety than in previous years.

“It’s clear that workplace safety has a powerful influence over organizations’ ability to attract and retain talent, and we hope employers use this data to inform their emergency preparedness plans, training efforts, and employee communication to demonstrate their commitment to safer working conditions for all,” said Alex Vaccaro, Chief Marketing Officer for AlertMedia. “While health and safety have been top-of-mind for nearly every person, business, and community for the past two years, this research offers new evidence about what employees expect from their employers when working as well as how their perception of safety impacts numerous aspects of their lives.”

Employees who are not offered safety training are more than twice as likely to say they would not know what to do in the event of an emergency at work.

While the majority of employed Americans remain concerned about navigating public health crises (78%) at work, the study found that nearly as many are worried about other emergencies and disruptive events, including cyberattacks (64%), severe weather (65%), crime (61%), significant outages (59%), and workplace violence (54%). Additionally, 83% of U.S. workers say they have encountered at least one emergency situation while working across their careers.

Which emergencies have you encountered at work?

workplace safety in America
(Source: State of Employee Safety Report, AlertMedia)

Here are some additional insights from the report:

  • Workplace Safety Perceptions: 89% of working Americans say workplace safety is more important than ever before; however, only 54% believe their safety is extremely important to their employer. And while 81% agree that executive leadership personally cares about employees’ safety, 64% believe their employer’s approach to emergency communication needs work.
  • Safety Awareness & Training: While 82% of working Americans report that their employer offers safety training, only 56% report participating in training more than once per year. What’s more, employees who are not offered safety training are more than twice as likely to say they would not know what to do in the event of an emergency at work.
  • Employee Retention & Loyalty: 97% of survey respondents said feeling safe is an important factor in determining where to work. In fact, when asked how they would respond if their employer failed to communicate effectively about an emergency or other potentially dangerous event, 44% said they would feel unsafe and 58% said they would reconsider their employment or start looking for other job opportunities.
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