Job safety said to give small business a recruiting edge

Competition for top talent is tough in today’s marketplace. And with the U.S. unemployment rate hovering at 4.4 percent, it can be hard for small companies to find individuals to fill open positions. Now, a new survey of small-business employees finds that the safety of the work environment was among top factors for employees considering a new job offer. The survey was conducted by Employers, a leading small-business insurance provider.

According to the research, business owners may be underselling a factor that could give them an edge in recruiting. Employers says the findings were a surprise, noting that safety ranked behind criteria such as compensation, the nature of the work, and proximity to home. But it ranked ahead of factors like the quality of potential coworkers and opportunities for professional growth.

While most employees of small companies believe their employers make workplace safety a high priority, one out of 10 disagreed. Also, people who work at businesses with 86-100 people were more likely to say their employer prioritizes safety, compared with those who work at smaller companies. Those who work at women-owned business were more likely to say their employer places an extremely high priority on job safety.

Also of note, the Employers survey found that:

  • 17 percent of all small business employees surveyed say they never receive workplace safety training.
  • 25 percent of personnel at very small companies (9 or fewer employees) say they never receive safety training.
  • 40 percent of small business employees say their employer does not display the required OSHA poster prominently, or they aren’t sure if it is displayed.

Employers recommends that small business owners take steps including the following to create a culture of safety:

  • Identify and assess potential hazards;
  • Lead by example when it comes to working safely;
  • Train and educate regularly and effectively; and
  • Conduct regular audits and safety meetings.