Making sure employees are safe and secure when they come to work each day is a top concern for small business owners, new research shows.
A study by insurance specialist Employers revealed that workplace safety risks were the source of greatest concern and the area where small business owners expect to dedicate most of their attention this year. In fact, they ranked workplace safety as more important than risks related to professional liability, cybersecurity, natural disasters and terrorism.
Specifically, 35 percent of the small business owners surveyed said workplace safety is what they worry about most, compared with just 26 percent who are concerned about professional-liability risks and 25 percent who said cybersecurity is their top concern.
"Small business owners realize they have to protect their most valuable assets — their employees," said Stephen Festa, Employers' chief operating officer. "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."
The research found that 21 percent of small businesses are most prepared to deal with slips, trips and falls by employees. Other top risks they believe they are best equipped to handle include motor-vehicle accidents and employees' contact with dangerous objects and equipment.
Festa said that as part of the study, the researchers wanted to see how prepared small business owners believed they were 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.
"We were relieved to find that the most common type of injuries — slips, trips and falls — was cited most often," he said. "However, we were surprised that almost four out of five small business owners did not claim to be most prepared for them."
Research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that slips, trips and falls account for nearly a quarter of all nonfatal workplace injuries and 15 percent of all fatal workplace injuries. Overall, the small business owners surveyed felt least prepared to address acts of violence, or fires or explosions that occur at the workplace.
The study was based on surveys of 502 U.S. small businesses that have fewer than 100 employees.
Originally published on Business News Daily.