Improving Safety Programs – Why the Fuss ?
BY CHRISTINE TORRES
Published November 20, 2020
Mention the word “safety” in some industrial circles, and it conjures feelings ranging from positive to negative. Yet, the negative is likely because businesses are not seeing the benefits and the opportunities safety provides. Safety shouldn’t be a hassle or a nuisance. There are ways to perk up safety programs to maximize the benefits and meet a facility’s needs in the organizational development process. Applying these practices will not only keep workers safe, but also increase a high level of trust in a business all around.
The Impact of Safety
Safety compliance is part of the law, but its impact benefits companies on multiple levels. Why is it so important? Implementing safety measures can help businesses:
- Prevent injuries and save lives: Since 1970, when OSHA began, workplace deaths have been reduced by more than 60%. Occupational injuries have declined by 40%.
- Reduce costs: The National Safety Council reports that lost-time injury or illness prevention saves an employer at least $37,000 each time, and each avoided fatality saves $1,390,000.
Not only will a company reduce injuries and save lives, but it can also build its reputation. Some of the top companies in the world know that a successful safety program is a contributing factor in its success. For example, Jones Engineering in Dublin, California, recently achieved the Platinum Safety Award from ConstructSecure. The safety assessment reviews a company’s historical safety performance.
“Safety has always been the number one value for Jones Engineering. Priorities can change, but values do not,” the company said in a statement. Jones Engineering earns recognition year after year. “You want to know why our reputation for operating to the highest safety standards has resulted in our appointment to prestigious global contracts? Well, here’s why.”
When a workplace is found not in compliance, there are fines. Indirect costs also increase. Think about workplace transparency with workers and others. Do workers feel secure? Does the company prioritize growth and development? When people can trust a company, the turnover is lower, as workers are happier and more productive. Also, there will be more repeat customers. Safety is an interlocking component of reducing labor costs and increasing productivity.
Leading by Example
Once a safety program is in place, workplaces can start training and educating workers new and old on best practices. Studies show that increasing engagement through toolbox talks, informative meetings, instructional videos, and events all help workers feel important and like they are a part of the safety process. It also helps the worker to feel trust toward the employer and leadership.
- Create a safety culture: There’s no benefit to finger-pointing or blaming. Make group discussions and toolbox talks, engaging one-on-ones, and opportunities for openness.
- Boost safety knowledge: Knowledge is power. Empower workers to do their job in the best and most productive, stress-free way.
- Utilize data: Evaluate the workplace with a job hazard analysis. Analyze near-miss data and transition it for safety improvement data.
- Follow-through: After establishing safety rules, there must be some follow-through and enforcement of those rules. A lot of successful safety programs include worker incentives and rewards.
Workplace safety can be a great tool to prevent injuries and save lives, save a company money, and build a business’ reputation. Some different techniques and practices will help reduce labor costs, increase productivity, and showcase a workplace’s professionalism. Amplify workstations and improve workplace visual communication through signs, labels, and floor marking. It not only shows a company’s professionalism, but also its dedication and commitment to a safe and productive work environment.