Some companies may still be one harsh lesson removed from the tipping point but most management today no longer perceives safety as a hindrance to productivity. Quite the contrary: they acknowledge and embrace safety as essential for productivity. A typical example of overcompensation? Most definitely not! As proven by these 7 fact-based arguments:
1. Safety costs, but accidents cost a whole lot more
This one is obvious and we could string its components out to make a whole list by itself. But still, it cannot be stressed enough: the costs of accidents dramatically outweigh the investment in efficient safety systems. The list of direct and indirect costs of an accident is long: material losses and repairs, reduced production and output with possible failures to fill orders, missed deadlines and lost contracts, … .
2. Worker loyalty
Workers will prefer a company that takes their safety seriously. This weighs in extra in a market where you’re competing for talent. It goes beyond ‘merely’ not having accidents with severe injuries or fatalities. A string of near misses or the feeling of not being heard on safety issues, might be enough to make a worker look for other opportunities. A strong, well nurtured positive safety culture goes a long way in creating employee loyalty.
3. Motivation = productivity
Following the previous argument: not having to replace workers because of accidents or resignations means no loss of expertise or team-efficiency. A lower turnover of a well-trained, talented and motivated workforce, often makes for a higher, more consistent productivity. Boosting safety will boost morale and in turn will boost productivity.
4. Image and reputation: not being ‘that’ company
In addition to worker retention and recruitment being harder, there’s also your company’s reputation and public image to consider. You do not want to feature in media or news cycles because of a dramatic and /or tragic mishap. This may indirectly lead to loss of business when clients decide on a less ‘troubled’ competitor with more safety conscious appearance. Another indirect but unmistakable proof of safety as essential for productivity.
[Possible streamer:] “Did you know the day the news broke that Tesla got for insufficient workplace safety, the value of the company dropped 2%?”
5. Less wear and tear
Having an efficient, well-communicated and well-observed safety system in place, translates into significantly less wear and tear on material and equipment. This leads to a lower need for maintenance and higher residual or resale values. And if you allow us this metaphor: a safe work environment often also reduces the wear and tear on that most valuable of assets: the workers themselves, their backs, limbs, joints, … . Resulting in less time lost.
6. Fuel efficiency and carbon footprint
Some safety measures have the added benefit of a higher fuel/energy efficiency. Take for instance all vehicles in your on-site fleet. When respecting the appropriate speed limits and adopting a safe and ‘disciplined’ driving style, it can lead to energy savings of up to 25%. This used to be a nice bonus, but today CO2 emissions have become a common auditable requirement.
7. Pay now, pay less
A smart, exhaustive and adaptable safety system comes with a cost. But as stated in the first item on this list: a cost that is outweighed by what today is commonly known as the return on safety. This is further reinforced by the fact that ad hoc, reactive corrective safety measures tend to be considerably more expensive than preventive measures in the long run. And what’s more: these those reactive measures not only affect your bottom line, but almost always negatively impact your productivity.