California Coast EarthquakeIn the third annual workplace safety survey, Staples (the office supply company) determined of those surveyed only half of employees believe their workplaces are prepared for a severe emergency. The survey found that only half of employees believe their workplaces are prepared for a severe emergency and in the past six months nearly half of businesses have closed due to severe weather. Nearly two-thirds of those polled said recent natural disasters have not led to their employers reassessing company safety plans.

According to the survey, the top three safety concerns for employees are:

  • Slips, Trips and Falls: One in five report slipping, tripping or falling at work as their biggest concern. Accidents involving slips, trips and falls send 9 million people to the hospital each year and are a leading cause of workers’ compensation claims, costing an average of approximately $20,000 per accident
  • Natural disasters and storms: Less than half of employees say their employers have the plans or equipment in place for snow and ice storms, or catastrophic events such as tornadoes, hurricanes or earthquakes. According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, an estimated 25 percent of businesses do not reopen after a natural disaster
  • Fire: Fire is one of the most common safety incidents, but most employees feel their companies are well prepared. Three-fourths say their employers have a plan and equipment in place for a fire emergency.

One finding that is not surprising is that small business employees feel more at risk to emergencies and disasters than employees at larger companies. The survey finds workers at businesses with fewer than 50 people are less aware or less sure who is in charge of emergency planning than employees at larger companies. Employees from smaller companies report having less emergency equipment or plans in place, are less likely to do safety reviews or drills, and are less prepared for severe emergencies than their counterparts at bigger organizations.