As Safety Managers, it is our job to make a case for safety and to sell safety to the management team and employees. We have to learn to express the benefits of the program to get participation and commitment for the program.
The benefits of a safety program go well beyond just the savings from reducing injuries. Safety is the only department that has a positive impact on all other departments. This positive impact translates to increased profits and benefits to the entire organization.
Unfortunately, some of these benefits are hard to see. It is up to you, Safety Manager, to show your team how safety is the cause of all these benefits, to sell them on these facts. Let’s go over the top benefits of having a safety program and how they can help you make a case for safety.
10 WAYS TO MAKE A CASE FOR YOUR SAFETY PROGRAMS:
Reduced direct costs
The gist is that when you improve safety at the workplace, you will see a reduction in incidents, meaning fewer claims. This will impact the cost of insurance premiums as well as claims expenses, such as deductibles.
This first one is a given. It is what everyone thinks of when you ask how safety makes money for the company. I couldn’t create this list without putting this one first. But, please, don’t stop here.
When you make a case for the safety program you are pushing, this is not the most crucial part. In fact, this is low hanging fruit. Once you have reduced your incidents enough that these costs are negligible, it becomes harder to sell safety. So get in the habit, now, of promoting all these other benefits that also affect the bottom line.
Indirect costs of accidents and injuries
Everyone quickly understands the direct cost of accidents – the damage to property and the cost of injuries. But the indirect cost can be way more expensive.
Indirect costs refer to loss of production, costs of hiring extra workers, worker overtime, time spent administrating the incident (investigations, claims handling, reports, meetings), loss of quality of the product. . .
All of these add up. You need to make a list of all your indirect costs and quantify them. Actually calculate the cost of the hours and time. This will give you information to help them see the benefits of what you want to put in place.
A simple back strain can translate into 3X the direct cost and a considerable number of widgets to sell to make up for it.
Safety programs are built on inspecting equipment, operating the equipment correctly, and reporting problems right away. This results in issues being addressed before they become huge problems – saving a ton of money for the maintenance of the equipment and building.
You can generally determine the level of safety commitment when you walk into a facility with a good maintenance program. Where techs are working on preventative maintenance more than break downs.
Remember – break downs = loss of productivity = loss of revenue. That is your selling point.
When you focus on doing the job safely, there is an emphasis to do the job right. Doing the job right also means creating, delivering, offering a quality product.
This is usually an easy thing to measure, after the fact, through a visible reduction in complaints, returns, damages, etc.
Beforehand, you need to look at the direct & indirect cost of each of these. Next, look at the past experience of previous safety initiatives – what improvements in quality did you see before. If you haven’t started measuring this, now is an excellent time to start so you can use it in the future.
The safe way is also the most efficient way to do the job. Most people don’t believe this, they think that safety slows them down. To use this point to make a case for your safety program, you may have to show them.
Side by side video works great. Take a video of them doing it the wrong way and the results. Then have them follow your safety SOP to the letter. Every time I have done this, you visually see that there are fewer errors, and the overall job is done better.
More participation and an increase in ideas
Because safety is employee focused, when you continually improve it, employees naturally want to get involved. This involvement leads to more communication and ideas on how to improve how to do the job.
Employees doing the job will always know how to do it the most efficient way. But if they feel like you don’t care about them, they won’t offer their ideas.
You can measure this improvement through the number of suggestions or hazards reported.
Piggybacking on #6. You will also see greater cooperation within your departments. Everyone will start working together towards a common goal. Usually, this goal is operations related – once again benefiting the company.
When you have a strong safety culture, the entire organization is working as one. It makes everyone’s job easier because everyone is working towards the same safety, quality, and production goals.
There is nothing worse than an incident happening when it could have been prevented by people speaking up. You want your people to feel comfortable to bring up issues.
Early communication of any problem is a money saver any way you look at it. You can measure this by the number of hazards reported or suggestion box entries. When you collect these, calculate the savings the report created. Do this for a year and add THAT to your bottom line – mind-blowing.
Improved morale, decreased turnover
One of my least favorite tasks is training new hires. They are our most accident-prone group, they work slower because they are still learning and don’t understand how to do the job correctly. Plus the administrative time it takes to set them up.
Not to mention the cost of all this until they are entirely 100% up to speed – usually 3-6 months down the road.
To solve this problem – keep the people who already work there!
Simple enough, right? When you focus on current employee’s well being (safety) and care about what they have to contribute (communication) and include them in the goals (teamwork), they are more likely to stay, saving you tons of money.
Meet your business goals
I have said it before….safety affects all the business goals. To make a case for your safety program, look at every one of the business goals, and create a list of how safety impacts them. This point should probably be at the top of this list.
Before asking for support for any safety initiative, you need to be prepared with how it will benefit the people involved and the organization. Take one you are currently working on. It can be a safe work practice, an improvement project, or even a full-blown new initiative.
Now, look at this list of how you can make a case for safety. Which one of these applies?
Create a list of how the practice, project, or initiative will benefit both the worker and the company. Lead with these benefits when you are working on getting support for your program.
NOW IT'S YOUR TURN
This was just a quick rundown of things I look for in Walking and Working Surfaces. It is by no means an all-inclusive list. Leave a comment below with your biggest pet peeve when it comes to this topic. I think mine has got to be not putting stuff back where it belongs - Seriously! Walk the few extra steps and put it away.
I can't get enough of hazardous condition pictures. If you have a unique hazard you found during an inspection; PLEASE, share it with me! Email me your pic to Contact at TheSafetyGeek dot com, with the subject line "Walking and Working Surfaces Inspections". I would love to get a gallery of the crazy stuff we find out there.
Hi, I’m Brye (rhymes with sky)! I am a self-proclaimed safety geek with two decades of general industry safety experience. I train and coach new safety managers on how to effectively do their jobs in the real world. I specialize in bringing safety programs to a world-class level and building a safety culture. I would love to help you do the same.