As the economy slows, businesses are tightening their belts and taking steps to reduce their overhead to survive. Unfortunately, for many companies, reducing overhead includes cutting safety budgets. Many companies still see safety as a cost of doing business, a necessary evil and a drain on overhead and profit. However, successful companies have taken a different view of security and consider it a profit center to be developed and exploited when times get tough, not a cost to be cut.
Implementing safe work practices within your company can produce many benefits including lower overhead and increased business opportunities. Maintaining a safe workplace is simply a good business practice. Many insurance companies offer premium discounts if you implement certain safety practices such as substance abuse training. Visible safety practices can help you earn more business.
Focusing on your employee’s development through education and leadership opportunities can have the added benefit of increasing employee retention and reducing accidents.
If your insurance premiums are lower than your competitors, then your overhead is less, and you are more competitive.
Implementing a return to work program can reduce the costs associated with a workers compensation claim by about 70%. Automobile insurance premiums could be reduced by performing regular MVR checks and conducting safe driver training programs. General Liability insurance premiums might be reduced by implementing a written safety program, including safety language in sub contract agreements, and maintaining a clean OSHA record. Check with your insurance carrier to find out what steps you can take to reduce your insurance premiums.
Many owners are identifying safety business practices with good performance. One public safety practice that owners take note of is housekeeping. A clean and well-ordered work area and the project site is a mark of a professional. A clean work site has the fewer slip, trip, and fall hazards and can reduce a significant number of work-related injuries. A clean worksite is less likely to experience accidental fires and harbor rodents or other pests. A well-ordered work site means that fewer tools are lost or damaged because of improper storage and handling. A clean work site can reduce costs and improve productivity.
As owners become more sophisticated in their knowledge of safety, they are raising the bar and pre-qualifying their contractors rather than settling for a low bid. A clean OSHA record and an EMR below 1.0 tend to be minimum requirements for bidding on new projects. Additionally, many owners require safety training for all employees on a project, such as the OSHA 10 and 30-hour courses.
Maintaining a workforce that is trained on safe work practices is an investment in your company’s future. If you focus on developing your current resources, your employees, they are more likely to stay with you because you are helping them grow professionally. Encouraging your employees to take an active part in safety by participating in a safety committee is another way to manage risks at your company and help your employees develop leadership and problem-solving skills. Employee-led safety committees supported by upper management can assist the company to solve specific safety issues and identify potential problems that will boost the company’s performance, thereby increasing profit.