Workplace injuries can cost our society around $128B in losses in a given year. This amount equals to 25¢ of every dollar in pre-taxed corporate profits.
(American Society of Safety Engineers. 2002)
Establishing a proper Workplace Safety Program
Establishing a proper Workplace Safety Program will not only provide proper structure for safety but will also create long-term savings in an organization. Having a proper outlined safety guideline can provide essential benefits such as:
- Reduce injury
- Increase productivity
- Create a safe work culture
“50 workers are injured every minute of the work week.”
– American Society of Safety Engineers, 2002
A health and safety manager is responsible for ensuring that safety is an essential component of an organization. (Maine Department of Labor, 2013) Reducing injury in the workplace is imperative, as the people within the company are the vital elements that help steer the organization’s future.
Therefore, it is important to have a safety system with proper precautions. Without a system, avoidable injuries and costs can arise. Examples of the costs that could be affected are:
- Increased spending on insurance premiums
- Increase in hiring costs
- The added cost of re-training
- Overtime to compensate for low workforce
The money that is spent on these avoidable costs could be invested into other aspects of the organization: i.e. – enhancing the development of both the business and the people of the company. An example of where to invest would be: providing cost-effective personal protective equipment to prevent worker injuries. Personal protective equipment could include proper custom ear molding devices to protect hearing-loss, eyewear to prevent eye injury, headwear to protect your head, etc.
A lack of safety can lead to a loss of productivity, efficiency and time, in the long-run.
Increase in Productivity
“Developing a safety culture… increases employee productivity by 24% and reduces factory costs by 20%
– SafetyLine, 2017
When an organization tries to find methods to cut costs (including bypassing a properly outlined and managed safety program), the assumption is that this will save money and time; thereby increasing profits. This type of action creates the opposite effect in the long run, as these workplace environments can be deemed unsafe and undesirable to work in. A decrease in productivity may occur as a consequence of injured employees taking time off from work. This can be a detriment to any company and needs to be avoided.
That is just one aspect of a loss in productivity when avoiding an investment in a safety. Other affected benefits may include:
- A lack of a high-quality working environment
- A lack of good communications/relationships between management and employees
- A lack of demonstrating that the company values their employees
When a working environment is at its peak morale, employees are motivated to work hard and be safe in their roles. This provides the company with an opportunity to invest into other aspects of their business when people are productive and safe.
Create a Safe Work Culture
“Building a strong health and safety culture will have positive impact on your workers and public perception”
– Worksafe BC, 2017
Company culture creates an “aura” that is interpreted by society. When a company values safety as an organizational standard, potential and current talent sees this as a positive benefit to working for a company. When a company undervalues safety and health, it can create a poor reputation, pushing away workers. Employee morale can be affected, resulting in people leaving the organization. When a company is unable to fill positions, wages that are above market values are typically needed to attract talent. (American Society of Safety Engineers. 2002)
Engaging the workforce in health and safety practices; having a transparent and open health and safety program, and always wanting to improve the health and safety performance inside a company, provides a great return for any organization. Creating a strong health and safety culture demonstrates that employees are highly valued.
“Studies indicate that every $1 invested in a workplace safety program [returns] $3 – $10 in direct and indirect cost savings.”
– American Society of Safety Engineers, 2002
Workplace injuries can be costly
More than $40 billion are paid each year by employers and their insurers in worker’s compensation benefits; or nearly $500 per covered employee. (American Society of Safety Engineers. 2002) There is an initial investment when creating a safety program, but it will pay off in the long run. A company may experience high monetary losses and workforce labor losses without proper guidelines. Safety is a major factor that should never be overlooked or ignored. Recognizing the value of a comprehensive health and safety program will ultimately save the organization money.
American Society of Safety Engineers. (2002, June 8). White Paper Addressing the Return on Investment for Safety, Health, and Environment (SH&E) Management Programs [Article]. Retrieved June 14, 2017, from http://www.asse.org/professionalaffairs/action/return-on-investment-for-safety/
Institute for Safety and Health Management (2014, September 4). Why Safety and Health Have Good Business Benefits [Blog]. Retrieved from https://ishm.org/safety-health-good-business-benefits/
Maine Department of Labor (2013). Managing Safety and Health [Article]. Retrieved from http://www.safetyworksmaine.gov/safe_workplace/safety_management/
SafetyLine (2017). Is Safety Productive? [Blog]. Retrieved from https://safetylineloneworker.com/blog/is-safety-productive/#more-2740
Worksafe BC (2017). Enhancing Health & Safety Culture & Performance [Article]. Retrieved from https://www.worksafebc.com/en/health-safety/create-manage/enhancing-culture-performance