#ICYMI: Safety a must for Florida’s workplaces

Mark Morgan is the Senior Human Resources Manager for Corporate Safety with NextEra Energy. He serves as Chair of the Florida Chamber Safety Council

This piece originally appeared in The Palm Beach Post on January 13, 2024

Florida, with its diverse, approximately $1.5 trillion economy and entrepreneurial spirit, has long been a hub for business innovation, growth and promise. But beneath the sunshine lies a shadow: a state with a concerningly high rate of workplace accidents and fatalities. A recent study from Economic Leadership ranked Florida the eighth highest in the nation for workplace fatalities, meaning that workplace deaths are higher than expected in Florida based on the economic activity in dangerous industries. This statistic demands immediate attention.

As Florida’s business landscape grows and becomes increasingly complex and interconnected, the need for safety-focused leadership has never been more vital. Incorporating a culture of safety not only protects employees and customers but also safeguards the long-term success and reputation of Florida businesses.

The time is ripe for a paradigm shift. Florida needs business leaders who understand that safeguarding their workforce is not just a box to check on a compliance checklist, but a fundamental cornerstone of success. This commitment to safety needs to be woven into the very fabric of every decision, from project planning to resource allocation.

But it’s not just about top-down mandates. Safety-focused leadership thrives on a foundation of trust and empowerment. Open communication is key. Leaders must create an environment where workers feel comfortable raising concerns about safety hazards without fear of reprisal. This empowers them to be active participants in their own safety and that of their colleagues.

A culture of safety should permeate an organization. Leaders from front line supervisors to CEOs all have the capacity to practice safety-focused leadership. Tools and resources are available through the Florida Chamber Safety Council to ensure every job creator has what they need to practice safety. The latest resource recently developed is a Safety-Focused Leadership video series for small to medium-sized business who may not have a safety officer on staff. We want to be your partner in helping your organization build a safe and healthy work environment, protecting your employees and ultimately improving your bottom line.

Investing in comprehensive safety training programs is another vital step. Equipping workers with the knowledge and skills to identify and prevent risks empowers them to become safety ambassadors within their teams. The Florida Chamber Safety Council’s team of safety professional and certified trainers have decades of experience working with businesses of all sizes and industries to train staff or develop and implement internal safety and health programs. We stand ready to help your organization foster a culture where safety becomes a shared responsibility rather than a burden.

Florida’s future hinges on the well-being of its workforce. We can’t afford to lose lives and livelihoods to preventable accidents. We need business leaders who prioritize the safety and security of their workers, not just as employees, but as human beings. This is not just good business, it’s the only acceptable path forward.

Let’s turn the Sunshine State into a beacon of safety, for the people who make it thrive – the workers, the families, the communities that form the beating heart of Florida. Let’s build a future where every day is a safe day and every life is valued.

It’s time for Florida to step into the sunshine of safety-focused leadership. Our future depends on it.

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