Most U.S. employees are more concerned about workplace safety than ever before, with worries ranging from health hazards to cybersecurity, and they expect employers to ensure their well-being while on the job, according to a new study from AlertMedia.
Based on responses from over 2,000 full-time U.S. workers, the State of Employee Safety Report found 90% of employees believe their organization has a duty of care—a legal and moral obligation—to protect workers from unnecessary risk of harm when working or traveling on their behalf. Furthermore, 82% of workers stated employers’ obligation to keep employees safe extends to those working remotely.
As U.S. employers accept their “new normal,” the research highlights 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.”
The study found that while the majority of employed Americans remain concerned about navigating public health crises (78%) at work, 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.
Other key findings include the following:
Workplace Safety Perceptions: The vast majority (89%) of working Americans say workplace safety is more important than ever before; however, only half (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 most (82%) of working Americans report that their employer offers safety training, only half (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: Nearly all (97%) working Americans 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.
AlertMedia’s full report is available for download here.