Many business owners and financial personnel want evidence that investing in a safety program produces a return. Studies indicate that every $1 invested in safety delivers a return of $2 to $6. Any $1 investment that produces a $2 return is a good investment, so the financial justification for investing in safety is a no-brainer.
Today’s competitive and challenging business environment means any return on investment contributes to an organization’s financial health. Successful business leaders focus on financial impact, and improved safety is one effective way to guarantee better results.
As with all business metrics and initiatives, communicating to employees is critical in assuring the success of those efforts. Employees should understand a financially healthy organization is good for them and their future, since success translates into greater opportunities to increase wages and improve benefits, and a strong safety program helps contribute to that success.
So, all good business leaders should gather their employees together in a meeting and communicate the importance of safety in guaranteeing financial success… or should they? Is it important that employees understand the financial success safety programs can help create? Is financial success the most important benefit of a safety program?
A very wise mentor of mine provided an excellent perspective on this subject: what is the most important goal of any safety program? I’d like to think the most important goal is preventing the death, injury, or illness of a valued employee. If that isn’t your objective, I suggest you reevaluate your priorities, because you’re at risk of losing the trust and confidence of your employees.
In his unique way of communicating essential concepts, my mentor suggested saving money is just one of many “side effects” associated with preventing work-related injuries and accidents. Additional “side effects” include:
Because the beneficial “side effects” of providing a safe workplace only happen when injuries don’t occur, the sole message to employees must be focused on workplace safety. Messaging that includes a discussion of cost reduction can fall on deaf ears, as employees really just want to know their safety is paramount. When injuries are prevented, the beneficial side effects move in concert with those positive trends.
While return on investment in safety is an important consideration for all employers, we need to be careful the financial message doesn’t overpower the much more important objective of preventing workplace injuries. You might be surprised at how closely employees pay attention to messaging. When employees believe that financial success trumps their well-being, it detracts from the culture of safety. Success and safety often go hand-in-hand, but only when organizations realize that when you put your people first, the numbers will follow.
If you have questions about workplace safety strategies, OSHA or your total cost of risk, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team can collaborate with you to develop and deploy programs to help keep your team safe on the job while maximizing your investment in your insurance programs.
This article was originally published on Colorado Construction & Design (CCD) magazine here.Back to Resources