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
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.
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 opinion piece originally publishing with The Palm Beach Post.