Workplace Safety Big Concern for Small Businesses in 2014: Survey

February 12, 2014

There is good news for the millions of Americans who work for small businesses. Keeping employees safe at work is a top concern for small business owners, according to a survey sponsored by EMPLOYERS, a holding company with subsidiaries that are specialty providers of workers’ compensation insurance and services focused on select small businesses engaged in low-to-medium hazard industries.

Workplace safety risks were cited as the source of greatest worry and the area where small business owners expect to dedicate most of their attention this year, more than professional liability risks, cyber-security risks, natural disaster risks and terrorism risks.

“Small business owners realize they have to protect their most valuable assets – their employees,” said EMPLOYERS Chief Operating Officer Stephen V. Festa. “Employee injuries can carry a significant cost, not only in terms of medical and workers’ compensation expenses, but also in terms of lost productivity and potentially lower workplace morale.”

Which one of the following risks do you worry about most potentially impacting your business?

Risk

EMPLOYERS Survey

Workplace safety risks

35%

Professional liability risks

26%

Cyber-security risks

25%

Natural disaster risks

10%

Terrorism risks

0.2%

Which one of the following types of risks do you expect to spend the most time addressing in 2014?

Risk

EMPLOYERS Survey

Workplace safety

35%

Professional liability

24%

Cyber-security

23%

Natural disasters

11%

Terrorism

1%

“We wanted to see how prepared small business owners believe they are for the types of injuries that are most common in the workplace, or if they were placing too much emphasis on events that are unlikely to occur,” Festa said. “We were relieved to find that the most common type of injuries – slips, trips and falls – was cited most often. However, we were surprised that almost four out of five small business owners did not claim to be most prepared for them.”

Slips, trips and falls account for nearly a quarter of all nonfatal workplace injuries[1] and 15 percent of all fatal workplace injuries[2] that occur in the private sector, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Other common causes of workplace injuries that small business owners said they are prepared to handle include motor vehicle accidents (12 percent) and employees coming into harmful contact with objects and equipment (12 percent).

Small business owners felt least prepared to address acts of violence or fires or explosions that occur at the workplace.

For which one of the following workplace risks is your business most prepared?

Event or Exposure

EMPLOYERS Survey

Event / Exposure
% of all nonfatal injuries / illnesses1

Event / Exposure
% of all fatal
injuries / illnesses2

Slips, trips, falls

21%

24%

15%

Motor vehicle accident

12%

5%

41%

Contact w/ objects & equipment

12%

25%

16%

Sprains, strains, tears

10%

-

-

Fire / explosion

8%

0.2%

3%

Repetitive motion injury

7%

3%

0%

Exposure to harmful substance or environment

7%

4%

7%

Act of violence

4%

4%

17%

For which one of the following workplace risks is your business least prepared?

Event or Exposure

EMPLOYERS Survey

Event / Exposure
% of all nonfatal injuries / illnesses1

Event / Exposure
% of all fatal
injuries / illnesses2

Act of violence

29%

4%

17%

Fire / explosion

17%

0.2%

3%

Motor vehicle accident

13%

5%

41%

Exposure to harmful substance or environment

12%

4%

7%

Repetitive motion injury

6%

3%

0%

Slips, trips, falls

5%

24%

15%

Sprains, strains, tears

4%

-

-

Contact w/ objects & equipment

3%

25%

16%

Methodology: All figures, unless otherwise stated, were collected by International Communications Research’s thinksmall Survey, a national quarterly telephone omnibus survey. Interviews were completed with a nationally representative sample of 502 small businesses that have fewer than 100 employees. Fieldwork was conducted between November 12 and November 26, 2013.

 

Source: EMPLOYERS

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