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The Case For Optional Workplace Safety Protocols

Marcus Williams - Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Case For Optional Workplace Safety Protocols

The need for safety measures is essential for any business. However, to be truly effective, your safety measures have to go beyond meeting the minimal legal requirements. Optional safety protocols not only keep your employees safer, but also save your business money and increase productivity as well. Optional safety protocols should not be looked at as an expense that slows down daily business operations, but as an investment that results in a more efficient and better-run enterprise. Learn why safety protocols are needed and the positive effects they have for businesses, employees, and industries as a whole.


Optional Safety Protocols Save Money

A lack of safety protocols increase the likelihood of accidents or incidents occurring in the workplace. When an accident occurs, there are costs and expenses associated that can be disastrous to businesses.


According to the national safety council


According to the National Safety Council, the most extreme injuries and illnesses caused by workplace accidents resulted in total costs of $51.1 billion for employers in the year 2010. The number only increases when you take into consideration all injuries and illnesses from workplace accidents, not only the most severe. OSHA reported in 2007, the total overall costs of illness and injuries related to occupational hazards for civilians was $250 billion in total.


Additionally, accident expenses can add up quickly, and are far more costly then you may realize. While the direct costs of an accident are easy to calculate (medical bills, insurance, workmen’s compensation), indirect costs are often far more difficult to calculate. However, indirect costs can be even larger than direct costs by a sizable amount. In fact, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) estimates that indirect costs of injuries may be 20 times that of direct costs.


Indirect costs include but are not limited to: company expenses to investigate the accident itself, paying overtime to make up for a missing employee’s production, decreased morale, tension between labor and management, and an overall decrease in your business's reputation.


In summary, the costs of implementing higher safety protocols are far less than paying for the resulting accidents.


Optional Safety Protocols Increase Efficiency

Businesses who invest in safety protocols get a strong return on their investment, along with an increase in overall business productivity. Aside from the associated costs, accidents reduce operational efficiency.


A recent study found that manufacturers with high safety standards saw an increase in Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) by 5 percent relative to the production capacity. Companies with high safety standards also experience 4 percent less unplanned downtime, compared to other companies lacking additional safety protocols.


workplace safety injury statistics


The injury statistics are also especially noteworthy. Companies with higher safety protocols reported an injury rate of 1 in 2000 annually, compared to companies with lower safety standards reporting an in injury rate of 1 in 111 annually. Repeat accident levels also show the same drastic difference of 0.2 percent versus 2.4 percent annually. Such a notable difference in injury occurrences can greatly affect productivity levels, as injuries not only stop production but also lead to other far reaching consequences.


Optional Safety Protocols Increase Morale and Reduce Turnover

It’s important to keep in mind is the effect that a lack of optional safety protocols has on your employees. When a business acquires a reputation as an unsafe place to work, this damages your existing employees morale and future hiring pool. When employees feel unsafe, by extension they feel that business management does not care about their well being. Having a low opinion of your employers reduces overall work quality and commitment to results. If low morale continues, in time it may lead to increased employee turnover.


A high turnover rate is financially damaging. It costs several thousand dollars to train new hires, even for low level positions. These costs can greatly increase for positions requiring years of experience, specialized skills, or higher education. Additionally, aside from bad internal morale, a reputation for being unsafe also affects your future hiring pool. You may not be able to hire the best and brightest for an opening if you have a bad reputation in your industry.


Even if you are able to account for turnover financially, it still takes time to train new hires and acclimate them to their new position. It is far less costly and damaging to business to keep morale high and keep turnover low. By having well defined optional safety protocols, you keep accidents low and workers safe and happy.


Optional Safety Protocols Help Businesses and Employees

Without additional safety protocols, your business and employees face a dangerous and unnecessary risk. Lack of proper safety protocols can greatly cost your company in terms of expenses, loss of productivity, and damage to your workforce and its hiring potential. Safety policies are an investment that saves money, increases productivity, and improves employee relations. In a recent study, over 60 percent of CFOs reported that each $1 invested in injury prevention returned $2 or more, and over 40 percent said productivity was the greatest benefit of an effective workplace safety program. The case for optional workplace safety protocols speaks for itself.