The business world has come a long way. Employee training—once considered an optional benefit employers provided to the most promising employees—is now more widely understood as necessary to a company’s success. Yet during the economic downturn, employee training was often the first to go. It was viewed not as an investment but as an expense to be reduced or eliminated. And in some cases, environmental health and safety professionals in organizations are still fighting to get that training budget back to where it ought to be. What’s frustrating for those individuals working for organizations still tightening the training belt, or where the prevailing thought is that occupational safety training is too expensive, it that advancements in training tech continue to make quality training more accessible, and safety is a core organizational consideration.
We also hear concern from companies with high turnover that if they train their employees, whether on health and safety or job specific topics, those employees will leave the company and take that knowledge elsewhere. Yet as author Zig Ziglar once said, “The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is to not train them and keep them.”
The question to ponder is what is the cost of not training your employees?
Training is critical to addressing behavioral changes and “up-skilling” teams. Training allows companies to turn B players into A players. Training supports organizational readiness, essential in today’s super competitive business ecosystems. It safeguards against incidents ending in tragedy, litigation, or OSHA fines. It helps companies stay competitive, and most importantly, feel valued.
So what are some of the reasons companies would want to invest in safety training?
For starters, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that a good worker safety and health program can save $4 to $6 dollars for every $1 dollar of investment.
The primary reason that businesses to invest in training is to avoid litigation and fines. Federal OSHA laws require training on many topics such as occupational health and safety, harassment, discrimination, and ethics. Employers investing in safety training that effectively educates their workforce to change behavior protect themselves from lawsuits and associated fees should a serious injury or fatality (SIF) event occur.
Another thing is organizations that invest in safety training avoid potential fines; not just the legal fines that follow litigation, but the potential penalties levied by OSHA and other if organizations don’t follow regulatory training requirements. OSHA standards require employers to provide not only a safe and health working environment, but the appropriate training as required by federal and state laws. In addition, if an employer recognizes a hazard that employee training would help mitigate, the employer has the duty to protect its employees by developing safeguards and providing the necessary training, even if there is no OSHA standard requiring training on the particular hazard.
- OSHA penalty amounts increased 80% in 2016
- 27% of OSHA inspections are employee complaints
- The average occupational injury costs employers $36,500
- U.S. employers pay about $1 Billion in workers compensation expenses each week