Photo Credit: NJAJ Free Digital Photos
By Meg Whynot-Young
Would you answer a job advertisement from a shipping company named Titanic? How about with a nuclear plant whose address was Three Mile Island or Fukushima? I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who was willing to take those risks.
Safety might not be the first thing on your mind when it comes to recruitment and employee retention, but it should be, particularly if you are in the logging, fishing, construction, transportation or manufacturing industries. It is an issue that is vitally important, not only to the safety of the employees, but for a company’s ability to recruit and retain a skilled workforce.
In a special report from Business Insurance (January 5, 2015) they state 51% of companies they surveyed said the top reason they established a safety program was to attract and retain employees. Those companies that promote safety as a value at work will find they have an easier time recruiting, and a higher rate of employee satisfaction. A higher rate of employee satisfaction ultimately translates to a lower employee turnover rate.
Recently, OSHA ordered a pilot working for Air Methods Corp. to be reinstated to his job after being fired for refusing to fly an unsafe medical transport helicopter, as well as pay him $166,000 in back wages and damages. This is a very visible breach of trust for the company, but in this case a win for the employees who are protected under the whistleblower protection act. From OSHA.gov:
“Pilots should never have to choose between the safety of themselves and their passengers, and their job,” said Nick Walters, OSHA’s regional administrator in Chicago. “Whistleblower protections are critical to keeping workplaces safe. Disciplining an employee for following safety procedures is illegal and puts everyone at risk.”
While your company may not have an OSHA citation to surmount, or bad publicity surrounding an OSHA violation, it is important that the company earns employees’ trust, and that they know they have done everything they can to prevent accidents and injuries while they are at work.