Why Employees’ Personal Safety is Important to Your Business
Yes, it is a company’s business if an employee is a victim of crime when they are not at work. When employees are victimized, it directly impacts a company’s bottom line.
According to a National Institute of Justice research report from the U.S. Department of Justice, businesses lose over $5 billion dollars a year when employees are victimized and miss time from work.
Employers experience increased financial costs, primarily in health insurance bills. This excludes sick leave and disability insurance costs other than worker’s compensation insurance. It also does not include time off from work, counseling, sick time, medical leave, days to file reports and make insurance claims, court appearances, replacing and retraining employees, or replacing and repairing stolen and damaged property.
Businesses gain when they offer safety education to employees.
Victimization is costly to all involved. Personal crime is estimated to cost $105 billion in medical bills, lost earnings and public program costs related to victim assistance.
According to RAINN, the Rape and Incest National Network, victims of sexual assault are:
- 3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
- 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
- 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
- 26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
- 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
Victims of robbery and burglary also are often traumatized and likely to seek counseling through their company’s EAP or on their own.
Businesses and Crime Prevention
When employees or members are raped, burglarized, robbed, assaulted or involved in auto accidents, employers are involved involuntarily. Employers can take an aggressive stance by offering proactive personal safety programs. Proper training can lower insurance costs; improve morale; and reduce time off, employee replacement and training costs.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “Under federal law, you are entitled to a safe workplace. Your employer must provide a workplace free of known health and safety hazards.”
However, there is no agency or program in place tasked with protecting employees, office staff and field employees when they aren’t at work. Therefore, employers who are willing to go above and beyond must take these tasks on themselves.
Employers can choose to incorporate educational safety workshops for all employees. These can be presented as part of a wellness program or lunch-and-learn workshops, or they can be incorporated into regular personal development training programs or add-ons to OSHA training.
Employers are embracing wellness programs, which traditionally include smoking cessation and weight control programs. Personal safety is a good fit that is often overlooked. A personal safety workshop can have lasting impact. The goal of the program should be to teach employees to stay safe while off the clock.
The workshops should include all possible and preventable safety and security risks, along with specific advice to prevent crimes. The following topics should be considered:
- Personal safety techniques
- Utilizing intuition to avoid danger
- How awareness creates a more difficult target
- Avoiding potentially dangerous situations
- Escaping dangerous situations
- Online, cyber, smartphone and social media safety
- DIY home security tips
- Fire safety in the home
- Safety on the road
- Creating a safety plan
- Safety products: legalities, proper usage and availability
A well-planned safety program can help companies prevent victimization and lower the costs associated with employees being victimized. Such training also shows employees that their employers care about their well-being, even off of the clock. A safe workforce is truly a win-win for all parties.