Rave Mobile Safety already released the findings of its annual survey of workplace safety and preparedness conducted early this year. The report examines the emergency preparedness level in healthcare and other sectors throughout the United States. It must be taken into account that the survey was held prior to the declaration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, which most probably prompted a change in priorities in a lot of organizations.
Workplace Safety in 2020
The coronavirus pandemic highlighted the importance of effective communication during emergencies, however, the survey indicates other important reasons for enhancing safety and communication in the place of work. The last time the survey was conducted in 2019, 26 respondents reported incidents of violence in the place of work. This year, those who have encountered violence in their place of work has increased twofold.
The survey revealed that employees are now more conscious about safety. 58% of survey participants mentioned they would submit a safety issue report in the workplace irrespective of whether it could be done anonymously or not; nonetheless, 41% of Gen Z and millennials would just report safety issues when it is done anonymously. This indicates that 18-29-year olds are worried that voicing safety issues would have negative effects.
Although the majority of employers have designed emergency programs, many aren’t performing drills. For instance, 76% of companies have emergency plans for dreadful weather situations, but only 40% performed drills to practice their response in case of an event, although 48% of survey respondents said they had encountered a severe weather condition in the past year. The majority of organizations have created emergency programs for cyberattacks, however, 51% of survey respondents stated drills were not performed to test out those plans. Nearly 30% of employees were uncertain or not aware of their employer’s emergency plans. The least informed were the 18-29-year olds.
The variety of methods employed to communicate with workers in emergency cases has grown in 2020. Email continues to be the most popular means of communication and 63% of organizations use it to communicate crisis facts, however, communication means such as mass text messaging have gone up in popularity. Mass texting is currently used by 42% of firms represented in the survey, even though many still depend on out-of-date communication tactics like in-person announcements, which leave out remote workers.
The survey showed that employers are likely to stay with dated communication methods, although employees would like to receive notifications regarding safety and security using a more speedy and easily accessible system, like mass SMS.
Emergency Communication in the Health Industry
The survey disclosed a substantial percentage of healthcare workers were not aware of emergency plans for events like system failures (22%) and active shooters (16%). Whenever there are emergency cases, email was the most frequent way of communication, employed by 65% of healthcare organizations. Intercom systems were additionally frequently used (50%) together with in-person announcements (44%). Although these may be useful on site, they are not effective for speaking with remote workers, who would prefer to get notifications through text message, but only 41% of healthcare companies are using mass text message notifications in emergency conditions. The survey additionally revealed gaps in safety protocols, with 80% of healthcare employees not required to do a safety check-in when working off-site.
The full results of the Annual Workplace Safety and Preparedness Study is available on this link.