Ninety-four percent of Canadian workers say that workplace health, safety and mental well-being is an important consideration when choosing a job, according to an Angus Reid poll commissioned by the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC.
The poll of 1000 Canadian workers also found that slightly more women than men (97 percent compared to 91 percent) consider workplace health and safety as an important consideration.
Younger workers were also more like to scrutinise workplace safety when considering an employer, with 96 percent of workers aged 18-34 viewing safety as important (compared to 93 percent of those aged 35+).
MSABC CEO Lisa McGuire said that in a tight labor market, Canadian businesses were using their safe work environments as valuable points of differentiation against competitors.
“Challenged to recruit and retain staff in the face of the lowest unemployment in Canada, more BC employers are recognising they need a robust health and safety system to attract and retain qualified workers.”
“We know that a safe and healthy workplace is what job-seekers are looking for.”
Meanwhile, only 77 percent of Canadian workers said decisions made in their workplace considered health, safety and well-being all or some of the time.
“What this tells us is there is a gap between what is currently happening in Canadian businesses and the management best practices that would help employees feel safer at work,” said McGuire.
The results of the poll are consistent with a 2017 U.S. study that found the safety of the work environment was one of the top criteria employees consider when assessing a job offer or position.
It found that potential employees rank safety ahead of other important considerations, such as the quality of potential coworkers, and opportunities for professional growth.
David Quezada, Vice President of Loss Control at EMPLOYERS, said it was important that small businesses recognise safety of the work environment is a top priority for employees.
“One way for employers to attract and retain valued talent is to have and communicate a commitment to workplace safety. By fostering a safe work environment, small businesses can protect and retain their most valuable asset, their employees.”
In 2017, BC employers lost approximately 2.75 million work days to workplace injury or occupational disease according to WorkSafeBC statistics.