Balancing Safety Versus Production in the Workplace
Balancing safety and production has been a challenge for employers for decades. Many of today’s workplace regulations were born out of negligence that led to accidents in previous years. But creating the safest work environment possible is an ongoing challenge.
For many workplaces, this challenge is born out of the nature of their industry, such as manufacturing, mining, and construction. The physical demands of these jobs are much more likely to produce on-the-job injuries and other incidents, but proper safety procedures can minimize the rate at which they occur. This is especially important for such industries, as they had some of the highest incident rates in 2015.
Why should employers invest in safety?
An employer might assume that increasing safety efforts and growing a culture of safety in their workplace would negatively impact their bottom line, but the opposite is actually true. Injuries and other incidents in the workplace can cost the employer a significant amount of money. By using OSHA’s injury cost estimation tool, you can see just how much a single injury can cost an employer.
For example, a single injury from electric shock can cost an employer almost $200,000 between direct and indirect costs, depending on their insurance. With a three-percent profit margin, this injury would require a company to increase its sales by over $6 million dollars to compensate for this one injury.
Direct costs include medical and indemnity payments. Indirect costs are paid for by the company and injured employee, including the loss of work time, extra effort of supervisors to make up for the injured employee's labor, insurance costs, legal costs, overhead costs, and the cost to train a new employee if necessary.
Promoting Workplace Safety
By committing to safety, employers and employees save time and money in the long run. There are five steps that can help build and grow a culture of safety in the workplace that will help worker morale and the bottom line.
- Take it from the top: Employees will follow the example of the leadership. If a manager doesn’t follow protocol, neither will employees.
- Communicate your message: Make expectations, protocols, and the reasons clear at all times.
- Define and Measure safety: It’s easier to know when employees are following safety procedures if you can monitor their procedures. Use inspections to take measurements.
- Hold everyone accountable: Part of having a strong safety culture includes having everyone on board and able to correct each other's mistakes before they become incidents.
- Know the benefits: Through measurement and employee input, the company will see the difference. With fewer costs incurred by paying for injuries, the company can focus on sales to improve the bottom line and not to compensate for insurance costs.
Workplace safety should be a everyone’s top priority while on the job, but incidents can still happen. If you or someone you know was injured at work, make sure your rights are protected. Contact our law offices today to speak with our legal team.