Safety In The Workplace: Top 10 Reasons Why Experienced Team Members Leave

Marissa Newby
9 min readMar 11, 2024


Employee retention is crucial for maintaining a safe and productive work environment, especially when it comes to experienced team members. Their departure can cause significant disruptions to safety procedures and overall business operations.

Experienced team members possess valuable knowledge and skills that contribute to efficiency and safety in the workplace. When they leave, this expertise is lost, potentially creating gaps that could impact both productivity and safety standards.

In this article, we will explore the top 10 reasons why these valuable employees might choose to leave. These include issues such as low pay, excessive workloads, lack of recognition for safety efforts, and inadequate resources for maintaining a safe work environment. Understanding these factors is the first step towards addressing them and improving employee retention.

1. Poor Pay

Experienced team members often leave due to poor pay, which significantly impacts their motivation and adherence to safety standards in the workplace. Studies have shown that when employees feel they are not being compensated fairly, their engagement levels drop, which can lead to a lax approach towards following established safety protocols. Without the drive to maintain a high standard of work, including safety measures, organizations may see an increase in workplace incidents.

Employers looking to retain their experienced workforce need to adopt strategies that promote fair compensation:

  • Performance-based incentives: Reward employees for meeting or exceeding safety goals, thus aligning their personal success with company safety standards.
  • Regular salary reviews: Ensure wages keep pace with industry standards and cost of living adjustments, making employees feel valued and reducing the temptation to seek better opportunities elsewhere.

By addressing compensation issues strategically, companies can foster a more committed and safety-conscious workforce.

2. Lack of Career Advancement Opportunities

Experienced team members leave when they perceive their growth prospects to be limited within a company. This creates a ripple effect, reducing knowledge transfer and impacting succession planning in terms of workplace safety. This is because experienced employees hold significant tacit knowledge about safe practices and procedures that may not be easily passed on to newer or less experienced staff.

Recognizing this concern, organizations need to devise clear progression pathways for their employees. For instance, creating or using existing frameworks for promotion that value experience, skills, and contributions to the company’s safety record can be a step in the right direction.

Beyond career progression pathways, ongoing training opportunities are also vital. Organizations could consider investing in programs that allow their staff to acquire relevant safety certifications or skills. This not only enhances the skill set of the workforce but also demonstrates the employer’s commitment towards employee growth and workplace safety. By doing so, companies can create an environment where top performers feel valued and are more likely to stay.

3. Inadequate Safety Leadership and Supervision

There’s a common saying in the world of business: “People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers”. This rings especially true when it comes to experienced team members leaving due to a lack of safety leadership. A passive or dismissive attitude towards safety can quickly deteriorate the trust employees place in their organization’s ability to protect them. When workers perceive that their well-being isn’t a priority, they may seek opportunities where their safety is assured.

It’s crucial for organizations to instill a culture where everyone, from top management to entry-level employees, shares responsibility for maintaining a safe work environment. This sense of collective ownership not only bolsters commitment but also encourages everyone to look out for each other’s safety.

Leadership plays a pivotal role in shaping this culture. Competent leaders who prioritize safety help foster an environment where workers feel secure and valued. Effective communication about safety standards and protocols is also key. By clearly conveying expectations, addressing concerns, and providing regular feedback, leaders can ensure that every team member understands their role in creating and sustaining a safe workplace.

In essence, strong safety leadership coupled with open and clear communication can significantly enhance employee retention by making workers feel safe, valued, and part of a supportive community.

4. Failure to Prioritize Safety in Project Management

Experienced team members leave when they perceive a lack of commitment to safety in project management. A common issue arises when project deadlines clash with safety protocols. An excessive focus on timelines can potentially sideline the importance of adhering to safety regulations.

To maintain a safe and productive work environment, it’s crucial to balance both elements effectively. Managers should ensure that every project plan includes specific safety reviews and checkpoints. This strategy not only reaffirms the organization’s commitment to safety but also allows for potential risks to be identified and addressed early.

Another critical aspect is empowering employees to voice their concerns about safety issues without fear of backlash. An open line of communication creates a more transparent work environment, encouraging individuals to reveal potential hazards or violations.

As organizations strive towards achieving their project goals, ensuring safety in project management should never be compromised. By integrating safety measures into project planning and fostering an open culture, businesses can retain experienced team members while promoting a safe workplace.

5. Lack of Employee Involvement in Safety Decision-Making

When experienced team members leave, often a contributing factor is the lack of employee involvement in safety decision-making. Employees who are not included in conversations about workplace safety may feel their insights and on-the-ground knowledge are undervalued. This can lead to a diminished sense of ownership and commitment to the company’s safety culture. After all, those who face the daily realities of the workplace hold invaluable perspectives that can enhance safety policies and procedures.

Empowering Participation:

  • Establish Safety Committees: Form groups that bring together staff from various levels to discuss and influence safety measures.
  • Conduct Regular Forums: Create opportunities for open dialogue where employees can share their ideas and concerns regarding current and potential safety initiatives.
  • Encourage Feedback: Promote an environment where feedback is not only welcomed but sought after, ensuring that the voices of those most affected by safety policies are heard.

By actively involving employees in these ways, organizations can foster a more engaged workforce that takes collective responsibility for maintaining a safe work environment.

6. Insufficient Resources for Maintaining a Safe Work Environment

Experienced team members often say that the lack of resources is a big reason why they leave. When there isn’t enough safety equipment or proper facilities, employees not only face dangers every day but also worry about not meeting safety rules. This can lead to:

  • Frustration and anxiety among staff who feel unprotected and undervalued.
  • An increase in workplace accidents, which can result in injuries or even deaths.
  • The possibility of getting in trouble with the law because of safety violations.

To solve these problems, organizations must:

  1. Regularly check what’s lacking to keep the workplace safe.
  2. Make a plan for spending money on safety things.
  3. Invest in safety things for the long term.

By doing these things, companies can create a workplace where safety is more than just a rule, it’s something everyone experiences every day. This will help keep experienced staff who are important to how things run smoothly.

7. High Workload Demands and Fatigue

Experienced team members, who are often the backbone of a company’s operations, can find themselves driven away from their roles due to high workload demands and fatigue. The pressure to meet deadlines or exceed targets, coupled with long working hours, can result in compromised alertness and decision-making abilities. This not only jeopardizes personal well-being and productivity but also increases the likelihood of accidents or errors which can have serious safety implications.

Promoting a work-life balance is therefore essential for retaining experienced employees and maintaining a safe workplace. Here are some strategies employers can adopt:

  • Workload Redistribution: If certain team members are consistently overburdened, it may be time to reassess task delegation within the team or department. Workload redistribution can help ensure that responsibilities are shared more evenly, reducing strain on individual employees.
  • Regular Rest Breaks: Encourage employees to take regular breaks during their shift. This can help prevent fatigue and maintain concentration levels.
  • Sleep Hygiene Awareness: Employers can provide information and resources on good sleep hygiene practices. A well-rested employee is more alert and less likely to make errors that could compromise safety at work.

By addressing high workload demands and fatigue, companies can create a healthier, safer work environment that experienced employees will be less likely to leave.

8. Lack of Recognition for Safety Contributions

Experienced team members leave when they feel their safety contributions are not valued. Not recognizing employees’ efforts to maintain a safe work environment can lead to dissatisfaction and disengagement. Acknowledging these efforts plays a crucial role in reinforcing desired safety behaviors.

Recognition acts like a double-edged sword — on one side, it boosts morale; on the other side, it ensures everyone adheres to safety standards. A simple ‘thank you’ or a small reward can go a long way in making an employee feel appreciated.

Supervisors must be encouraged to proactively acknowledge individuals who consistently adhere to safety protocols or suggest improvements. Whether it is through an ‘Employee of the Month’ program, a shout-out during team meetings, or even a personalized note of appreciation, recognition can foster a culture of safety and respect within the organization. By doing so, organizations can retain their experienced staff while also promoting a safer workplace.

9. Communication Gaps and Misunderstandings in Multicultural Workplaces

Experienced team members leave when faced with persistent communication gaps and misunderstandings, especially prevalent in multicultural workplaces. Cultural differences in communication styles and language proficiency can create barriers that hinder the effectiveness of safety coordination efforts. This not only impacts individual performance but can also compromise collective safety protocols.

How to Address Communication Challenges in Multicultural Workplaces

Here are some effective strategies to promote clear communication and bridge the gap in multicultural workplaces:

  1. Promote Clarity: Implementing comprehensive strategies that address these challenges is crucial. One approach is to embrace clear, simple language for all safety-related communications, making them accessible to everyone regardless of their cultural background.
  2. Language Training Resources: Providing language training resources can empower employees to overcome language barriers, fostering a more inclusive environment where safety information is readily understood by all team members.
  3. Language Ambassadors: Appointing language ambassadors within the workforce can be a game-changer. These individuals act as liaisons, bridging the communication divide and ensuring that every team member comprehends safety procedures and protocols, regardless of their native language or cultural norms.

By prioritizing these strategies, companies can create a safer workplace where every employee feels valued and heard, reducing the likelihood of experienced staff seeking opportunities where they might communicate — and thus operate — more effectively.

10. Limited Access to Health and Wellness Support Services

Experienced team members leave organizations for various reasons, but one important concern that is often overlooked is the availability of health support services. The well-being of employees goes beyond just their physical health; it includes their mental well-being as well. Both of these aspects are crucial for job satisfaction and employee retention.

Holistic Employee Well-being:

  • Physical Health: Taking proactive steps like getting regular check-ups and screenings can help identify health problems early on, which in turn can prevent long absences from work and promote a healthier and more productive workforce.
  • Mental Health: Stress is a normal part of any job, but if it’s not managed effectively, it can lead to burnout and a decrease in workplace safety.

Comprehensive Health Benefits:

  • Employers should consider offering health benefits packages that go beyond the basics. These packages could include additional resources such as:
  • Counseling services
  • Stress management programs
  • It’s important to recognize that accessible support services for emotional and psychological well-being are just as important as those for physical health.

By incorporating strong health and wellness initiatives into their company culture, organizations show that they value their employees’ overall well-being. This not only helps in retaining experienced team members, but also creates a supportive environment where everyone can thrive.


Safety in the workplace is a complex issue that affects both the physical and mental well-being of employees. It plays a significant role in why experienced team members leave and can have a major impact on an organization’s success.

To address this, employers must take safety seriously and implement measures to protect their employees. This includes providing safe working conditions, opportunities for growth, fair pay, and open communication.

Creating a culture of safety is essential. It helps build trust among employees and creates an environment where they can collaborate, innovate, and thrive.

When it comes to retaining employees, focusing on safety is crucial. Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Recognize individual needs: Every employee is different, so it’s important to tailor safety interventions to their specific concerns.
  2. Listen to feedback: Employee input is invaluable. By listening to their ideas and addressing their concerns, employers can make meaningful improvements.
  3. Share success stories: If your organization has implemented effective safety measures, share these stories with others. It could inspire them to do the same.

Remember, your experiences and insights are valuable. Don’t hesitate to share how safety initiatives have helped retain experienced team members in your workplace. Your story could make a difference for someone else striving to create a safer, more supportive environment.



Marissa Newby

Blogger focusing on Emergency Management, Safety, CBRNE matters and Conflict