A prevailing principle in business is that business-owners need to spend money to make money. This adage is brought up to refer to business costs that seem obvious — advertising costs, overhead, materials, and prime real estate. But one avenue rarely mentioned in this discussion is safety.
Many executives and decision makers are more than willing to acknowledge that safety costs money. Those discussions often focus on the significant costs of additional safety initiatives, safety education and workshops, new safety procedures, and safety equipment. But framing the discussion by only referring to the costs and not the benefits those additional safety features create mischaracterizes how that money is being spent.
To say that spending money on safety is an investment is more than a mindset or phrase to downplay the costs. The advantages of spending money on safety are real and tangible — to tweak the adage slightly, businesses need to spend money on safety to save money, and save lives.
Safety Is an Investment That Pays
The costs that go into workplace safety features seem steep for some businesses. And this assessment is fair to a point — that point being that safety does cost money. Establishing a culture of safety within a workplace requires investing in education, consultations, assessments, and workshops with certified safety professionals to be fully functional.
Companies should understand that an investment in safety leads to savings that vastly outweigh the upfront costs. A company with a functioning safety culture is a company that both has employees that are more efficient workers and continually improve how the work is done.
This allows companies to save money completing front-line tasks as employees work faster and more accurately, with fewer injuries, wasted materials, and lost time due to production stops. For a real-life example of how this is achieved, read the case study on how Optimum was able to work with North Shore Steel to reduce lost time cases by 47% — and overall OSHA recordable cases by 73%.
The greatest savings for a company potentially comes from those reduced injuries. An injury costs $117,000 on average in direct and indirect costs. Trying to recoup the costs of that injury can cost a business ten-fold in additional sales. Investing a fraction of those sales upfront to more safety education can prevent the injury from occurring.
The Human ROI of Safety Culture
The price of an injury is great, but the price of a life is greater. It is no exaggeration to say that committing to a culture of safety will save lives in a workplace. The toll of an employee loss of life on-site is immeasurable from both a financial and employee morale standpoint. But a company can avoid safety incidents and boost employee morale by investing in additional safety education, assessments, and safety leadership development.
An employer that solidifies themselves as a safe place to work within an industry with greater workplace safety risks is able to retain a higher percentage of their workforce and draw in a higher pedigree of talented applicants. This strengthens the companies’ workforce to be able to do their jobs better and saves the company money in rehiring, retraining, and onboarding costs.
Any business would be better served by an efficient, engaged team than battling the costs of injuries and OSHA citations.
Creating a budget to invest in safety is a smart financial choice for businesses. The upfront costs are trivial in comparison to the costs incurred by injuries, lost production time, citations, fines, and lost employees. But safety is also the investment that creates return through more efficient work practices, more accurate work, and employees with higher morale. Part of doing business is making the difficult choices that are best for the company. Investing in safety is a choice that is straight-forward and makes sense.
Save money. Save lives. Stay safe.
Optimum Safety Management provides the information and services to help companies develop safety leaders and improve overall safety performance. For more information on how Optimum Safety Management can assist with your businesses’ safety needs, contact an expert today, or reach out via phone at 630-759-9908.
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