Feb 8, 2018

Employee safety perceptions, employer policies not aligned: Survey

Findings show generational divide between employees’ knowledge of company emergency preparedness plans

Most American employees across the country said they feel safe but are not prepared for all potential emergencies in the workplace, revealed a recent survey that examined employee perceptions on workplace safety. 


Rave Mobile Safety, an American organization that creates safety tech in the form of software, released key findings in a whitepaper called Workplace Safety and Preparedness on Feb. 5 from a survey featuring 530 respondents from the United States.

In a statement, Rave Mobile Safety said workplaces miss the mark in critical communication and planning, and could be unprepared to meet the future needs of employees.


With strict regulations that have been enforced for some time, respondents made it clear that they were aware of their workplace's fire drill policy, as 87 per cent said these plans are established and have been practiced at their work. However, in a world where mass shootings, cyber-attacks and other life-altering events drive the news headlines daily, only 57 per cent of respondents indicated their workplace had preparedness drills in place for events such as hazardous materials incidents, weather alerts and active shooter incidents. 


"Given the current landscape of the workforce, a company's ability to focus on an active shooter or workplace violence incident is absolutely paramount," said Juliette Kayyem, CEO of Zemcar. "Moving forward, leading organizations need to ensure the safety of employees by bringing these policies into the workplace and putting them into practice, much like how fire drills are already a regular event for employees."


As the workforce continues to evolve with a growing number of millennials and generation z employees joining, the way workplace safety is communicated will also need to shift.


Currently, 53 per cent of millennial respondents were either unaware or said that their workplace did not have emergency plans in place. When compared to respondents who are age 45 and older, a big discrepancy is revealed as only 34 per cent of respondents in this age group answered the same way about their employers' workplace safety plans.


Additionally, nearly half of the 45 and older age group said that they were "very likely" to report an issue in which they or a co-worker's safety was in question, whereas only eight per cent of millennials said they were "very likely" to report an issue like this.


Also, employees based in their organizations' main offices and remote workers indicated text message was a top preference for receiving alert notifications. However, only 37 per cent of respondents said their workplace currently has a mass text message notification system in place. 


"Currently the top way of notifying employees about an incident that happens while they are in the office is through an intercom system, but when they are remote, they would prefer to be alerted by text message," said Don Aviv, president of Interfor International. "As the number of millennial and generation z employees rises, and where we work from becomes more fluid, organizations will need to move beyond a loud speaker announcement to alert employees – mobility will play a key role in this."