Reputational Risk Management: How Workplace Injury Hurts a Company’s Credibility

Trustworthy. Reliable. Conscientious. A company’s reputation holds a lot of weight, with significant impacts on the bottom line. In fact, a quarter of a company’s market value can be directly related to its reputation, according to the World Economic Forum. 

In today’s competitive landscape, company reputation is more important than ever – it’s also more vulnerable. Customers are placing greater significance on online reviews and ratings than on traditional marketing and they’re showing an increased interest in companies’ social awareness.  

As industrial employers work to build and maintain positive company reputations, the importance of workplace safety cannot be overlooked. Workplace injuries can cause significant reputational damage, leading to eroded public trust, difficulty retaining and recruiting employees and lowered employee morale, as well as reduced sales and investor skepticism.

Here are some of the ways workplace injuries can hurt a company’s reputation, and what employers can do to prevent them.

Negative publicity damages public trust

Dollar Tree fined over $250,000 for safety violations that endangered workers: ‘Pattern of disregard’ -FOX Business

FedEx workplace safety questioned after employee death -The Commercial Appeal

Amazon cited by OSHA again over warehouse injuries -CNBC

These recent headlines highlight one of the most obvious ways workplace injuries damage reputation: negative publicity. When employees are injured on the job, it can attract unwanted attention from the media. The coverage is especially damaging when the injury results from an employer’s negligence or a lack of safety protocols. 

Negative press can result in a loss of public trust and can affect a company’s relationships with its customers, suppliers and investors. If a company is seen as not taking the safety and well-being of its employees seriously, this can reflect poorly on the company’s overall values and ethics. The public may question the company’s commitment to safety and responsible business practices, causing damage to its reputation in the long term.

Difficulty recruiting and retaining employees

In today’s digital age, it’s easy for employees to share their experiences and opinions online. A company that has a reputation for not prioritizing the safety of its employees is likely to receive negative reviews and ratings on platforms such as Glassdoor, which can deter potential job seekers from applying to work there.

Employees who have been injured on the job may also be less likely to want to stay with the company. If they feel that their injury could have been prevented or that the company did not prioritize their safety, they may become disengaged and start looking for other employment opportunities. This can lead to a higher turnover rate, which can be costly and time-consuming for the company.

Moreover, if a company is unable to attract and retain top talent due to a negative reputation for workplace safety, it may be forced to settle for less experienced or less qualified employees. This can lead to a decrease in overall productivity and a higher risk of workplace accidents and injuries.

Lowered employee morale and satisfaction

Workplace injuries have a significant impact on employee morale and job satisfaction. For injured employees, damaged morale is in addition to any physical and emotional pain they experience, which can result in time off work, medical bills and rehabilitation. Employees who witness or experience a workplace injury may start to question the company’s commitment to their safety and well-being, which can lead to decreased trust and a sense of disengagement.

On the other hand, companies that prioritize employee safety and create a culture of safety can have a positive impact on employee morale and job satisfaction. When employees feel that their safety and well-being are valued, they are more likely to feel engaged, motivated and satisfied with their jobs. This, in turn, can lead to higher productivity, decreased absenteeism and increased loyalty to the company.

Managing Reputational Risk through Workplace Safety

To prevent workplace injuries and protect their reputation, companies must prioritize employee safety and take steps to prevent accidents and injuries from occurring. Here are a few ways to do this:

  1. Implement safety protocols and training programs. By providing employees with the tools and knowledge they need to stay safe on the job, companies can reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries. Additionally, companies can invest in safety technology and equipment that can help prevent injuries from occurring.
  2. Promote a culture of safety. This involves creating an environment where employees feel comfortable reporting unsafe conditions and raising concerns about potential hazards. Companies can also incentivize safe behavior by rewarding employees who prioritize safety on the job.
  3. Have a plan in place for how to respond to workplace injuries when they do occur. This includes providing immediate medical attention to the injured employee and conducting a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the injury. By taking swift action, companies can demonstrate their commitment to employee safety and mitigate the negative impact on their reputation.