Being Proactive v.s. Reactive with Safety

Commercial environments make it necessary to implement safety regulations as a means of accident prevention for staff. With the investment of improving safety aspects within the company, it lets staff know that their safety and well-being are important. After all, how could you expect respect from a staff who isn’t first respected by you, the employer, by showing you care for them. All it takes is a few extra steps towards safety for your staff to not only show you care, but it also protects your company.  

Safety Improvements – It’s Worth the Extra Effort

safety takes priority

Providing a safe and healthy work environment is a major component in creating a positive work atmosphere. From a moral standpoint, it is the duty of a company to have the employees’ safety in mind. Afterall, where would a business be without employees? Most likely your employees have a family of their own and the hope and goal is that they give you their all during the day so they can safely return home to their families in the evening.

Consider a serious workplace injury that would ultimately change the life of the staff member and their entire family. Injuries and illnesses derived from lack of precautions from the company could ultimately change the lives of an entire family if the injury is severe enough. Take a moment to consider, on a personal level, how it would impact your family if you received a phone call or knock on the door informing you that your loved one has been injured at work, or even worse, he or she will never return home.

Ensuring the safety of staff not only affects the worker, but also the financial and reputation standpoint of the company!

Reducing Injuries Saves Your Company Money

When taking into account the expense incurred on the company if an employee is injured on the job, it not only costs lost hours in labor and productivity, but an increase in insurance fees and workers’ compensation premiums, not to mention potential legal fees.

An employee injury directly impacts the company’s level of productivity, not only due to the absence of that employee, but also due to the distraction of fellow employees after the unfortunate event.

A Safe Environment = Loyal Workers

Any successful business recognizes that employee turnover or absenteeism directly affects a company’s level of productivity. When a safe and healthy work environment is created, the attrition percentage greatly improves. Get employees involved by asking for feedback pertaining to safety and overall environment. Don’t stop there. When employees see you as a company, implementing measures towards improving the work environment, they will feel respected and cared for.

In this scenario, employees generally respond by putting forth more effort, remaining dedicated and loyal to the company and showing even more pride in their work. When employees feel heard, they will more likely abstain from job searching.

How Safety Improves Quality

Statistics have shown that when companies implement safety measures, higher quality products and services are rendered. Why? Typically a safer workplace environment is also a more efficient one. Another positive aspect of providing a safe working environment is focus and productivity. Both tend to be much higher because the atmosphere is more positive and employees feel protected, respected, and appreciated.

When employees are provided with a positive atmosphere they will focus on their work which results in optimum quality products being provided to the consumer. Quality products convert to customer satisfaction, loyalty, more sales and a more profitable bottom line.

Reasons to Put Proactive Safety as a Priority

  • Injury and/or death need no further explanation. According to OSHA, there were more than 4,000 deaths that occurred on the job and approximately 3 million injuries during the 2014 year. By improving safety awareness and offering safety education to employees, many lives will have a positive impact.
  • When a family is impacted by the injury or death of a loved one the company that employed that individual is at risk for substantial property and financial loss if the family chooses to sue.
  • Worker productivity flourishes.
  • Product quality and services improve.
  • Public relations as well as company reputation improve in the public eye.


When a company is known for its employee appreciation, the public responds in a positive way. The perception of individuals is very personal and relational in this aspect.

Steps towards Implementing Proactive Responses:

  1. Researching past accidents and analyzing them as a means of addressing the underlying issue.
  2. Develop safety committees as a way to promote and enforce safety measures.
  3. Perform routine inspections.
  4. Analyze job hazards.
  5. Create a reward/incentivized program for staff members who help enforce safety rules.
  6. Training and safety education.
  7. Accountability processes.

While each type of industry may pose its own set of safety risks, it is the responsibility of management to take into account precautionary measures to ensure protection of their workers. Fortunately there are various ways for businesses to reduce the risk of accidents by creating and enforcing safety plans.

When a company chooses to be proactive and establishes a protocol for training staff and enforcing policies in safety, it benefits both the company and the employee.

There is a difference between providing proper safety precautions instead of urgently addressing injuries. This is proactive versus reactive safety practices.

A reactive response to a workplace injury is what happens after the occurrence. Not only does this send a negative message to staff, but overall it is much more costly to the company in the long-run.

Some examples of reactive safety programs involve processes such as incentive programs that reward no-reporting, investigation of accidents as a means of placing blame, and early return to work with light duty assignments post accident. There’s also the method of implementing accountability systems which ultimately tie discipline to accidents. The reactive process does not provide a positive work environment, which eventually causes a negative impact on the overall working atmosphere, employee turnover, and employees feeling appreciated.

In summary, reactive safety practice is typically a passive response after-the-fact and does not address the root cause of the accident, therefore leaving potential for recurrence. In contrast, proactive responses show staff that you’ve made their safety a priority. Proactive safety involves planning, implementing certain protocols and setting necessary expectations for workers.

Safety is a primary issue within the workplace and business owners are responsible for providing a safe, amicable environment for staff. Safety training and evaluations should be done routinely to ensure everyone has a clear understanding of safety protocols. Keep employees engaged with committees as well as easy to report feedback. In all situations make sure to reassure staff that there will be no negative kickbacks for reporting unsafe conditions; in fact it is illegal to reprimand whistle-blowers. It is one thing to listen to concerns and it is another to follow through with corrections. Don’t just listen, act.

Again, by implementing safety rules and providing a good working environment, staff will feel appreciated and be more motivated and able to focus on productivity. Additionally, they will be more apt to stay long-term which means keeping good employees and avoiding the cost and time associated with finding and training new talent.