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.
A cost/benefit analysis is an important step in any financial decision. It doesn’t make sense to buy a BMW when a Toyota will do. Unfortunately, when it comes to safety technology this analogy doesn’t quite work. Think about safety technology like you would about brakes on a car: If you had an option to install two different types of brakes, one a $100 set and the other $200, you’d probably consider installing the $100 set. But what if I told you in tests the $100 version worked 90% of the time (that’s pretty good for most things) while the $200 version worked 100% of the time. What would you choose then? Even though 90% of the time for most things is pretty good, in safety it isn’t.
But how can your organization evaluate the tangible value of safety?
This is a tough one to answer because when you bring the value of human safety into the equation, you are dealing with an intangible variable. So let’s take the human element out of it for now and look at the factors that might be used to evaluate the tangible value of investing in safety technology.
What is the percentage of vehicles in fleet that are involved in an accident during their lifetime?
What is the average cost of repairs (vehicle and property)?
What is the average cost of vehicle downtime/day?
What is the cost of potential litigation?
If these costs are greater than the cost of the best possible safety technologies (Hint: THEY ARE!), then it’s an absolute no-brainer: Invest in the best possible safety technology to protect your bottom line.
Now here’s one of the keys to protecting that bottom line: Establish your safety program before an incident occurs. The problem many companies have is they recognize the need for investing in safety, but fail to implement it or only partially implement the program. But accidents happen—it’s not IF, it’s WHEN. Think of the potential liability a company is exposed to when they knew about technology that could have prevented an accident but chose not to install it before an accident occured... ‘Oh yeah, we knew we should have put that safety radar on our trucks, but chose not to because it wasn’t in our budget.' The plaintiff's attorney is going to have a field day. Not to mention OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration). The potential costs, including legal, site shut down, repairs and vehicle downtime, are staggering. Proactively investing in safety is a business decision that requires forward thinking about safety and risk, with the overall goal being to prevent accidents before they have the opportunity to take place.
So now you’re convinced that investing in safety technology is a must. That’s great! You instruct your safety manager to go out and purchase a system that will make your vehicles safer. The next thing you know you have nice new camera/monitor systems installed on your entire fleet. You’re good, right? Wrong. A camera/monitor system is a part of an overall safety system. It helps an operator see some of the things in his blind spot, but only when he or she is looking at the monitor (which isn’t always practical when they are supposed to be driving).
Cameras don’t tell the whole story. To illustrate, take a look at this example of a potentially fatal accident that was avoided due to the existence of complete safety system:
Director of the Solid Waste Department of Bunnell, Florida, Perry Mitrano instituted a safety program whose goal was to install the best safety technologies available on their entire fleet. The blind spot object detection system included patented radar technology and a camera/monitor system. Mitrano reported that one of his vehicle’s radars detected an object in the rear blind zone; however, the operator stated that the camera/monitor showed no obstruction. When the operator got out of his vehicle to inspect, he found a man bending over behind one of the truck’s wheels trying to retrieve a set of keys. Without the radar alert, the operator would have likely backed over the man, causing serious injury or worse.
As stories like the above continue to be shared, more and more safety managers are realizing how much safety technology saves them in the long run. Preco’s CEO Jim Bean recently noted that a “business owner’s investment in safety technologies is a small percentage that can have a significant impact on the overall success of the business. By continually investing in safety and creating a culture that is focused on safety, business owners are in a stronger position to retain personnel, create a more efficient environment, and improve the productivity of the organization.”
A proactive approach to safety requires money upfront but the result is that it protects your bottom line. It all comes down to safety being an investment that helps reduce costly accidents, keeps employees and the community safety, and mitigates potential legal issues. You need to take a step back and ask yourself, "Is a safety solution that works some of the time really going to cut it?" You need to invest in the best technology available that works every time, all the time, to protect your team, your community and your bottom line.
To learn more about how you can protect your bottom line through proactive safety, contact us here.