Getting resources for making safety a priority
Date Posted: 02/10/2020
It's never too soon to start planning your budget requests for next year. Drafting your strategy in advance may help you better address anticipated challenges to your resource requests. The following are a couple of potential focus areas to help justify a request for additional resources during corporate budget meetings.
Safety could be a recruiting tool
As a safety professional, you aren't satisfied with a safety record that is "good enough." You want to eliminate hazards to prevent any injuries. Achieving an exemplary safety record and highlighting that achievement both within the company and in job postings could become part of a recruiting and retention strategy.
In a tight job market, employers complete for applicants. To attract candidates, employers must set themselves apart. Applicants expect certain benefits like health insurance, a retirement plan, and paid vacation time. If an employer doesn't offer those three, it probably won't be able to attract applicants.
A strong safety record could become part of the recruiting strategy. Job seekers want to work for a company that cares about employees, so promoting your emphasis on safety could help attract job seekers. As a bonus, a renewed safety focus could also increase employee retention, reducing the need (and cost) to find and train replacements.
Safety supports production
While safety should be a priority simply because protecting employees is the right thing to do, showing the costs of injuries (and the savings from improvements) may help justify a request for additional resources.
Safe work practices should not inhibit production, but injuries can disrupt production, in addition to the costs for medical treatment. A serious incident that requires a trip to the hospital may require stopping production to treat the injured worker. Further, an employee hospitalization must be reported to OSHA and is likely to generate an inspection, taking more time away from other priorities. And of course, a serious injury will negatively impact the morale of other workers. Many of these costs can be measured (how much does each hour of lost productivity cost?) but a stronger focus on safety could avoid those disruptions.
In addition, the number and severity of injuries affect your workers' compensation rates, and improving safety can result in substantial savings. Since workers' comp uses a three-year claim history, a serious incident affects your rates for the next several years. The savings from an improved safety record may take a couple of years to materialize, but cutting those costs means more money in the profit column.
By laying out the costs and potential savings of safety improvements, you may have a better chance of getting the budget resources for your initiatives.