Most of all companies want to be safe. They want their employees to go home at the end of each day injury and illness free. And yet these same companies and their employees make decisions which put them at risk. Sometimes the risk is small and as we all know sometimes we take some pretty big risks. Two common justifications for taking risks, both large and small, are time and money. Building safety into the job/process will increase costs and slow us down.
The idea that safety costs us time and money seems logical, but is it really?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor “businesses spend $170 billion a year on costs associated with occupational injuries and illnesses — expenditures that come straight out of company profits. But workplaces that establish safety and health management systems can reduce their injury and illness costs by 20 to 40 percent. In today’s business environment, these costs can be the difference between operating in the black and running in the red.”
Injuries and illnesses increase workers’ compensation and retraining costs, absenteeism, and faulty product. They also decrease productivity, morale, and profits
In addition to cost savings related to injuries and lost time, time spent up front planning work processes, including hazard analysis, safe work practices and work place examinations, are shown to increase productivity and therefore decrease (you guessed it) time and operating costs.
A Harvard Business Review study, found “the companies that embraced initiatives and chose to go, go, go to try to gain an edge ended up with lower sales and operating profits than those that paused at key moments to make sure they were on the right track. What’s more, the firms that ‘slowed down to speed up’ improved their top and bottom lines, averaging 40% higher sales and 52% higher operating profits over a three-year period”.
Everyone agrees safety saves lives and reduces injuries. However research also shows it saves time and money as well.