One of the problems with a lot of work safety measures is that they place a lot of the burden on the over-worked, stressed-out workers themselves. The bosses are allegedly the people who are supposed to be running the ship, and it’s the crew that picks up the slack. Bosses who don’t care about workplace safety should remember that you don’t have to be a humanitarian to care about this kind of thing.
The people who run businesses tend to think of basic compassion as a business expense, so I don’t usually try to appeal to their consciences when I’m trying to make this kind of case to them. I want to point out that a lack of compassion can be an even bigger business expense. The idea that business ethics are smart and not just kind needs to be floated around a lot more, and it just isn’t.
The United States spends 250 billion dollars a year on workplace injuries and illnesses. It isn’t just the government soaking up that money, either. Businesses themselves take a lot of the fall. Some businesses close down altogether because of the expense of workplace injuries and illnesses. Even the businesses who survive under these circumstances are going to lose a huge amount of money just because of the high employee turnover and similar issues.
If you’re a boss and you spend a little extra money on training and on safety techniques, you can save your business a lot of money. You might even save your business. You’ll keep your employees and they’ll stay loyal. You will also keep regulatory agencies off your back.
Overworking your employees and expecting them to do the jobs of several people at once is not even an effective short-term solution. You’re going to get a bad job out of the people who actually are working, and you’re putting all of them at risk for getting some sort of employee injury. I know that making one person do the work of three people is all the rage these days, but business owners are supposed to be able to rise above certain trends in order to create new ones. If there’s one trend that needs to go, it’s this one.