The corporate environment constitutes one of the most delicate places for any employee. From workplace injuries to industrial espionage and theft, many things can compromise the corporate safety of a company, including its workers.
For instance, ASIO’s director-general Mike Burgess said in a recent statement that foreign spy agencies want intelligence “about Australia’s key export, technology and research industries.” According to other experts, the malicious actors presumably wish to use the data to harm Australian corporations for their personal gain.
In a nutshell, when thinking about corporate safety, one needs to consider the following aspects:
- Workplace violence,
- Equipment and environmental safety, and
- Workplace injuries.
In 2020 alone, there were 2.2 fatalities per 100,000 workers among managers, 8.4 fatalities per 100,000 workers among machinery operators and drivers, and 3.5 fatalities per 100,000 workers among labourers.
Although worker illnesses and injuries are steeply declining, the lack of comprehensive security programs is still ever-present.
According to one survey, as little as 24% of organisations spend less than AUD7,000 on safety training from their overall training budget. In fact, most firms ― 44% ― spend less than AUD300 per learner. This is a worrying trend that does not seem to be improving.
When the media find out about a corporate incident, they usually portray malicious actors physically intimidating high-level executives or board members. But, the truth is that the issues pertaining to this field are much more intricate and far from self-evident.
Therefore, for this article, we will explore corporate safety and how it affects Australian companies.
The Business Side of Things
The most straightforward and efficient way of explaining why the lack of corporate safety may produce various consequences is by presenting potential monetary repercussions. In other words, when companies worry about their business continuity, they tend to be more receptive to guidance on how to improve their corporate safety.
For employees to be productive and safe, they must first be convinced that their environment is secure. Depending on the workforce type and industry, a variety of safety training programs focus on multiple aspects.
By helping ensure employees stay safe, companies:
- Promote wellness of everyone involved, including employees and employers,
- Support better health, both mental and physical,
- Help employees complete tasks more efficiently,
- Improve the level of job satisfaction and overall happiness among employees,
- Encourage the workforce to remain loyal, thereby reducing the risk of industrial espionage, theft, and similar concerns.
Overall, safe working environments rarely generate accidents, as all segments of the company focus on a single goal: business continuity and profitability.
Apart from producing more output in less time, productive ― and safe ― employees also create a positive ripple effect. Simply put, they influence other company departments and encourage their colleagues to further the company’s goals.
By introducing proper safety programs, an organisation can help:
- Develop prevention skills,
- Minimise costs related to safety incidents and on-the-job mistakes, and
- Identify potential hazards before they irreversibly harm the corporate environment.
Finally, some of the highest costs in any business are those that relate to equipment. The human factor is responsible for around 80% of failures in engineering machinery. Bearing in mind the tremendous costs of repair and re-purchase, most companies are better off preventing accidents from happening in the first place. And they can do that by building a safe and secure environment for their workforce.
Industrial Espionage and Theft
Most of the damage that can be inflicted on an organisation is not immediately visible to the eye. In fact, malicious actors and competitors may be trying to develop a big information picture for weeks or months just to assemble the bits and pieces they obtained during informal conversations in lobbies, restaurants, elevators, and other public spaces.
Harmless chitchat can quickly turn into a situation that may adversely influence corporate safety for years to come.
Similarly, some security experts posit that approximately one-third of businesses fail due to internal theft or related crimes. This means that employees can ― if they choose to ― harm their current or former company more than virtually any outside malicious actor.
Expectedly, most employees are entirely aware of the consequences of their actions. However, a small part may be negligent in their behaviour, committing crimes that amount to theft. In any case, both ends of the spectrum, the reckless and the deliberate, are equally held accountable for their deeds.
Nevertheless, social science experts believe that most people will behave in line with what is expected from them if proper safeguards are in place. In other words, when a company introduces preventative measures, it signals to its employees that executing a malicious attack is both hard to achieve and generates few gains.
Thay way, even the most disgruntled employees will think twice before committing crimes. The reason is that the measures in place serve as deterrents to prevent them from behaving corruptly.
Corporate Safety and Technology
All modern corporations use computers to maintain their access controls, security systems, and personnel file databases. From a security perspective, the malefactor who infiltrates these areas can misuse numerous information. And these can be insider threats or outsiders looking to obtain sensitive data or expose vulnerabilities.
When corporation leaders hire executive protection companies to conduct electronic countermeasure sweeps, it usually starts with a physical inspection of the company premises, including:
- Searching behind furniture, in file cabinets, and the ceiling,
- Opening all electrical outlets,
- Inspecting telephones, tablets, desktop computers, and all other devices.
Workers with a low level of corporate safety awareness often make the mistake of leaving their devices unattended with sensitive data and information exposed to any passerby, including janitors, handypersons, their fellow colleagues, and many more.
Therefore, only trusted employees should be allowed access to critical information on company devices. That way, the possibility of unauthorised usage is vastly reduced, although not completely eliminated.
Note: Security surveys are an integral part of every security strategy. An executive protection company should use it as a starting point for ensuring corporate safety is at its highest. Succinctly, a security survey is a process of reviewing specific applications, areas, or operations of a business to document security vulnerabilities and risks and validate the existing program.
Occupational safety and health risks, as well as industrial espionage and theft, are mostly avoidable. However, many company leaders rarely pause to think about how these threats compromise the day-to-day business continuity of their organisation.
For instance, IT company workers may be struggling with faulty electronics or wires, causing a potential discontinuity in operations. On the other hand, construction company employees could be exposed to danger while operating heavy equipment. Even more disconcertingly, the threat may be coming from a foreign agency seeking to steal company data.
In fact, the risks may depend on the specific industry, but the dire consequences still ring true.
Instead of investing in corporate safety and ensuring that their employees remain loyal, dedicated, and productive, company leaders sometimes spend their time on matters of subpar importance.
Finally, some employees may betray their current or former employer in order to obtain significant financial gains from a competitor or malefactor. Alternatively, disgruntled workers could decide to harm the company that has awarded them a small compensation. The reasons are truly endless.
But whatever the case, businesses need to make sure corporate safety is on their list of top priorities. The alternative to that may prove challenging to the very existence of their operations and business continuity.
With experienced risk managers on our teams, Panoptic Solutions supports individuals and organisations in enhancing productivity and peace of mind by offering unmatched corporate safety services.