Companies that successfully reduce workplace injuries while reducing the costs associated with those injuries see benefits to their bottom line. Not to mention, they also see workers’ compensation payments decrease, medical expenses decrease, and a reduction in lost productivity.
You know safety impacts the bottom line, but just how much?
Consider these facts on costs, benefits, and financial returns:
- The majority of financial decision makers in small businesses report that for every $1 invested in injury prevention, $2 or more is returned to the company (1)
- Employers paid nearly $1 billion per week for direct workers’ compensation costs for the most disabling workplace injuries and illnesses (1)
- Financial decision-makers also say the perceived return on safety investment is $4.41 for every dollar that is spent on safety (1)
- OSHA’s research has shown evidence to support how companies can reduce injuries by 15-35 percent, compared to employers without injury and illness programs (1)
- Every year, lost productivity from workplace injuries and illnesses costs companies $60 billion (2, 4)
Knowing an investment in safety and health can help your company gain a competitive edge, where should business owners and executives start?
Here are 4 foundational pillars to building an effective safety and health management system.
1. Leadership and Engagement
In best-in-class companies, leaders recognize just how much employee safety and health should be embedded in the company culture. When leaders treat safety as a priority and reflect value the it brings to the company, is sets the tone for the rest of the organization.
It’s more than a rule book or following guidelines, and effective leaders who help to foster an engaged culture know this. And, when employees feel that top leadership cares about their well-being, they are more likely to take an active role in supporting and contributing to the workplace in terms of safety, productivity, and the overall culture.
Other contributing factors that fall within this pillar can include:
- Leadership’s ability and willingness to be participative
- Supervisor commitment
- Empowerment of workforce (to do what it takes)
- Employee training and development
- Effectiveness of safety meetings (3)
2. Safety Management Systems
How much investment has your organization made in creating consistent and standard approaches when it comes to your processes? What about for assessing risks and for applying controls?
When you have a visible, consistent, and strong safety management system your processes and procedures add value to the business. It saves time, resources, costs and it helps to make sure work tasks are completed in a way that’s aligned with the company’s safety objectives.
Other contributing factors that can include:
- Workplace design and engineering
- Equipment/facility inspections
- Behavior-based safety practices (including tools to support where necessary)
- Ability to complete effective audits (3)
- Ability to implement corrective action
It’s true that risk is always present in the workplace, but best-in-class organizations diligently carry out strategies that reduce risk where they can. Just think: The average cost of a very serious or fatal incident is 48 times higher than the cost of the preventive measure (3).
Where are you today in your ability to evaluate job hazards? Do you have job planning and risk assessments in place? What tech or tools are you using to engage as many employees as possible in the process, promote accountability and reduce risk?
Wearable tech is just one of the latest ways companies are investing in employees and safety to evaluate, monitor, and respond to certain workplace risks or indicators. When effective, wearable tech can prevent injuries, illnesses, and it can improve the participation levels in safety.
Other contributing factors can include:
- Mobile technologies for easy data collection
- Machine safeguarding practices
- Industrial hygiene practices
- Preventative maintenance (3)
- Effective use of leading and lagging indicators
4. Performance Measurement
High performing organizations know where they stand today, but they also know where they want to be in the future. Part of knowing how to move forward is having measurable metrics, goals, and/or objectives that lead to clear actions. Put simply, companies need the ability to track performance and to monitor and respond to leading and lagging indicators.
Other contributing factors can include:
- Ability to determine actionable steps for improvement
- Safety management tools such as iReport that can also capture and analyze data
The ROI For Safety Excellence
By no means is this list exhaustive; these are just the basics, and reflect the National Safety Council’s integrated model used by the world’s safest organizations. But, as the National Safety Council suggests, the business case for safety is clear, bringing a strong ROI on increased productivity, direct and indirect cost savings, organizational metrics, quality of work, efficiency of work—not to mention it reduces financial risk, improves compliance, and aligns with many company’s core values (3).
For more information on how to ensure an ROI for your safety program, visit http://www.ireportsource.com/.