We often hear complaints about the hidden costs of safety—the time it takes to train workers, the costs of paying an administrator to manage paperwork or the expense of purchasing new equipment to comply with new safety regulations.
It’s a shame we don’t hear more about the return on investment in safety management programs.
That’s because the costs of safety are easier to quantify, while the direct returns are measured by the absence of something—the absence of injuries, illnesses and fatalities.
Protecting our workers should always be the primary goal of any safety management program, but safety also brings real benefits to the bottom line. Our industry needs to do a better job of promoting those payoffs, too.
Studies have shown there’s a return of $2 to $6 for every dollar spent on injury prevention, according to the National Safety Council.
The next time your boss asks to see your department’s budget numbers, make sure you also explain what your safety programs are bringing back to the company.
Here are three hidden returns of safety to consider.
Increased Worker Productivity
Imagine you’re a line worker slicing apart chickens at a poultry processing company. You’re working against the clock and trying to be as fast as you can, but you’re also worried about slicing your hand, which is covered only by a thin latex glove.
Now imagine you’ve been given cut-resistant gloves. If your knife slips and grazes a finger, you won’t need stitches. You won’t even bleed. You’re not constantly worrying about hurting yourself, so you’re able to work faster. And because you feel more secure, you’re more likely to stay on the job longer.
The next time you implement a new safety program or purchase new personal protective equipment related to a specific task, consider how you can quantify its impact.
Reduction in Lost Time and Workers’ Compensation Costs
You’re already required to report your total recordable incident rates and the total number of lost workdays to OSHA, but how often do you use that data to show improvement?
With an incident investigation and reporting software, you can easily track the data from one year to the next to show improvement. When you calculate the actual dollars you save by having fewer employees away from work, the numbers can be telling.
Fewer injuries also means you’ll spend less on workers’ compensation claims, which can add up to thousands of dollars in savings each year.
More Efficient Processes
When you’re meticulous about process safety management—which applies to everything from the way you manage operating procedures to auditing—you have clear directions for every employee to follow. That means there’s less confusion and less time wasted trying to find the answers. That boosts productivity across the company.
The results of an effective PSM program are difficult to quantify, but it’s worthwhile to attempt a comparison of how much time you or your staff spent on these processes before they were standardized. A good PSM software can help you keep everything organized and reduce the need for process-related training.
When processes are easier, you can delegate more of the administrative responsibilities of safety to your employees. By holding them accountable for completing audits, reviewing material safety data sheets and handling other tasks, you’ll not only reduce the workload for yourself; you’ll give them a better understanding of why these tasks matter. A comprehensive safety database that allows all employees to access safety programs will make these jobs much easier for everyone.
Effective safety management has a ripple effect that extends to every aspect of your company, from productivity to morale.
When workers feel safe and engaged in your processes, they’re more content on the job. That means you’ll spend less time recruiting and training new employees and more time developing your company’s future leaders.
To learn more about how effective safety management can give you a better return on your investment, download our free guide, “9 Ways to Make Your Job As A Safety Manager Easier.”