On average, 6,300 people worldwide die every day from occupational accidents or work-related diseases – 2.3 million+ per year. Each year there are 317 million job-related accidents. The economic cost? Four percent of global Gross Domestic Product – more than USD$3 trillion lost annually to poor occupational safety and health practices. April 28th is World Day for Health and Safety at Work. A day designated to focus attention on the problem and take action to save lives, lost workdays, lost productivity. But if you focus on safety and health only on 28 April, or after an accident, or prior to a visit by OSHA (in the US) you’ll never get create a culture of workplace safety that becomes that becomes an asset to your business. A verifiable record of workplace safety can benefit your company in numerous ways – including winning new business, optimizing costs and competing for talent. For example:
- Alliances. The future of business is increasingly built around alliances. How you manage workplace safety and your company’s track record are questions that will be asked (or should be) by companies seeking to ally to achieve results they couldn’t achieve alone.
- Lower insurance costs. Workers’ compensation insurance rates are determined by three factors: the job classifications of each employee; employer’s payroll size; and the company’s claims experience. More claims, higher costs. Fewer claims, lower costs.
- Attracting and retaining the best talent. In today’s tight US job market, having a strong record of workplace safety can help your company attract and retain top talent. It’s also an asset in creating an engaged workforce.
So how to you go about creating a workplace culture that makes safety an asset? It begins at the top. Senior management should take a strategic approach. The saying “bring safety from the backroom to the boardroom” captures the spirit of strategic management of the issue regardless of company size. Second is having a proactive, inclusive culture of workplace safety and health. Engage every stakeholder in the process. Senior management, line management, employees on the production line and the shop floor. Bring in outside experts to provide a fresh, independent look at your safety program. We frequently see companies fall into routines and overlook obvious (to us) ways to improve employee health and safety and reduce the environmental impact of their operations. “But that’s the way we’ve always done it” is a common refrain. Unfortunately it often takes an accident or OSHA inspection visit that does not go well (and the ramifications of same) for those changes to be made. Being proactive can save lives, loss productivity and money. Third, look at safety as an asset and manage it that way. OSHA studies have consistently indicated that every $1 invested in safety programs could result in $4 to $6 being saved through fewer accidents, deaths, illness and lost productivity. Carefully quantify what’s spent and the results across the enterprise. Only by showing quantifiable results from a proactively managed program can workplace health and safety compete for budget dollars. The Catalyst Group’s HSE Consultants have extensive experience across companies of virtually all sizes and stages of development in helping them improve their workplace health and safety programs. We can help you transform a reactive program into one that becomes and asset for your company. Or we can provide a fresh set of eyes and make recommendations for well-established programs. If you want to learn more about how The Catalyst Group can help your company make every day Workplace Health and Safety Day, please contact us.