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Nationwide survey reveals business owners are relying on connected technologies to keep their employees safe

Over 70 percent of millennial business owners use connected technologies for employee safety, yet 51 percent of business owners don’t employ a dedicated safety professional

For the past three years, Service Legends has used a vehicle telematics system to keep its more than 30 drivers safe on the road as they provide heating and cooling services to local area homes.

That system has helped Service Legends track driving behaviors such as hard breaking and fast acceleration. Since using telematics in its commercial fleet, the company has saved money, improved route efficiencies and seen safer driving practices among its employees.

“This system is there to protect our employees,” said Ryan Hudson, the company’s purchasing and delivery manager. “It’s making them safer and keeping costs down.”

Service Legends is not alone when it comes to using connected technologies to make the workplace safer. In fact, a new survey by Nationwide finds that almost one-third of business owners rely on technologies like telematics, drones, wearables and building sensors to support workplace safety.

Millennials are leading the charge, as 71 percent of them use connected technologies for safety efforts — more than double the average business owner (32 percent).

That data stems from Nationwide’s fourth annual Business Owner Survey and highlights a key opportunity for business owners to consider going into National Safety Month. The most common connected technologies business owners use for their workplace safety efforts are:

Building sensors, such as those that can detect humidity, temperature, water leaks and equipment failure: 16 percent of all business owners and 36 percent of millennial business owners use this technology.
Wearables, such as watches, belts and other personal sensors that can detect physical strain: 13 percent of all business owners and 32 percent of millennial business owners use this technology.
Drones, such as those that can reach or inspect areas that could be dangerous for workers: 7 percent of all business owners and 21 percent of millennial business owners use this technology.
Vehicle telematics solutions, such as those that can help reduce distracted driving: 11 percent of all business owners and 20 percent of millennial business owners use this technology.
“Nationwide is currently researching, piloting and investing in a variety of connected technologies in the insurance and financial services space to help our members stay a step ahead of evolving risks,” said Tony Fenton, vice president of Nationwide’s Commercial Lines Product & Underwriting. “That includes experimenting with wearable sensors, artificial intelligence and drone technology — and especially vehicle telematics solutions.”

Nationwide recently announced a new venture capital investment in Nexar — an Israeli-based startup company focused on building the world’s largest safe-driving network — as part of our commitment to invest more than $100 million of venture capital in customer-centric solutions that help members. A pilot project is currently underway between Nexar and a Nationwide commercial member.

Many companies’ safety efforts lack formal planning and training

Although nearly one-third of business owners are using connected technologies to address workplace safety issues, Nationwide’s survey found alarming statistics about those companies’ overall safety efforts:

51 percent do not employ a dedicated safety professional.
38 percent do not offer formal safety training.
51 percent do not have a contingency or succession plan in place.
To help keep workers safe on the job and reduce workplace injuries, Nationwide’s Loss Control Services experts provide safety training to thousands of workers across the country. They also conduct job site surveys and offer program consultation for members. To improve workplace safety programs and reduce overall expenses, Nationwide recommends employers focus on three key elements:

Employ or identify a person who is charged with the company’s safety and implementing safety-related initiatives.
Provide formal safety training to all employees on a regular basis.
Implement a formal return-to-work program to help injured employees get back to meaningful work as soon and as safely as possible.
“While technology can enhance workplace safety, it’s not a panacea,” said Mark McGhiey, associate vice president of Nationwide’s Loss Control Services. “There’s always going to be an element of human-driven effort to ensure workers can do their jobs safely and efficiently. That’s why it’s so important for employers to follow best safety practices that are tailored to their specific business — and it’s why our experts provide individualized risk management consultation and safety training to business owners across the country.”

For more information, visit Nationwide’s blog page, Loss Control Services site and the Business Solutions Center webpage.

Methodology

Nationwide commissioned Edelman Intelligence to conduct a 20-minute, online survey between April 9-20, 2018, among a sample of 1,000 U.S. business owners. Business owners are defined as having between 1-499 employees, being 18 years or older and self-reporting as either a sole or partial owner of their business. The margin of error for this sample was +/-3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. As a member of CASRO in good standing, Edelman Intelligence conducts all research in accordance with Market Research Standards and Guidelines.