You’ve worked hard to build a profitable and sustainable business. Your employees are devoted to ensuring your company’s success, and in turn rely on you to make their living. Over the years you’ve obtained a significant amount of assets including property, equipment, supplies, and probably most importantly—a reputation that attracts customers. Don’t you want to protect it all? Of course you do. That protection is often created in a risk management plan.
A study published in Journal of Accounting and Economics came to a conclusion that won’t surprise many people in heavy-duty industries: When you try to meet or beat earning expectations or reach other lofty financial goals, employee safety can suffer. How can managers solve this three-dimensional chess game of being fiscally responsible while ensuring the highest standards of safety? With ever-increasing pressure on profitability, it can be a very tough nut to crack.
“If managers believe that the firm may miss expectations under the ordinary course of business,” the study reports, “they may increase employees’ workloads or pressure them to work faster. In response, employees can compromise safety by overexerting themselves or by circumventing safety procedures that slow the flow of work. Second, managers may cut explicit and implicit safety costs, such as the costs of maintaining equipment and training employees, in their attempts to report higher earnings.”
We get it. Safety isn’t sexy.
While safety technology saves hundreds of lives every year, it doesn’t parade around in a spandex suit and cape. Safety is more subtle in its approach to saving lives. Its approach is preventative: Keep people safe by alerting workers of dangerous situations. Superheroes are a bit more reckless about saving lives. They allow people to walk right into a dangerous situation just to heighten the dramatic effect of the last-minute save. Safety technology may not wear a cape but it is far more effective at saving lives than any superhero.
Creating a culture of safety doesn't happen overnight. But for one Health and Safety supervisor, it was a challenge worthy of tackling.
George Van Hemert oversees safety in what could otherwise be a very unsafe place. As Health & Safety Supervisor for the City of Oxnard, California’s Environmental Resources Division, Van Hemert is responsible for worker safety at Del Norte Regional Recycling & Transfer Station. This Materials Recovery facility (MRF) serves as the central hub of the City’s overall solid waste management system and as a regional resource for other adjacent cities as well.
It comes down to simple math. Invest in workplace safety before an accident happens, and you get to take your savings to the bank.
Liberty Mutual estimates that every dollar invested in injury prevention reduces costs for employers by $2 or more. That’s a lot of savings considering the fact that a workplace injury costs employers a whopping $30,000 on average, according to The National Safety Council.
So you think that you can get away with not investing in safety technology? Think again.
Not investing in the most effective safety technology for your fleet is opening you up to a world of potential issues - from the obvious ones like increasing the potential of accidents, to the more damaging one like litigation due to the damages incurred in an accident that could have likely been avoided.