The Value of Safety
Every plant manager would say that safety is important. After all, each manager wants their employees to go home safe and sound at the end of the day. There is a disconnect, however, between those that talk the talk and those that walk the walk. Companies who are not actively pursuing their safety initiatives should take a hard look at the extensive benefits that a well-run safety program provides.
The first benefit of safety is obvious, it’s the right thing to do. But for those that may need a business case to push safety to the forefront, running a safe plant actually saves you money. According to OSHA, $170 billion is spent each year on the costs associated with workplace injuries and illnesses. That number is not difficult to bring down either. OSHA estimates that 20-40% of that cost can be eliminated by establishing a well maintained safety and health management program.
The chart below shows the various ways that an increase in workplace injuries and illnesses can impact the bottom line:
Any one of effects results should prompt a thorough examination of your programs. To see just one in action, let’s look at why a decrease in productivity can occur. It is proven that employees who don’t feel safe work slower. Employees often don’t even realize that it’s possible to do the job faster, they will only work the speed at which they feel comfortable. With new, safer equipment or processes the pace of production picks up, savings time and money. Productivity bottleneck are the bane of lean plants existence; and an unsafe workplace could be counteracting the valuable work being down to drive down costs.
Safety is a group effort, and it can only be effective if everyone participates. Management leads the way by providing the necessary training, processes, and personal protective equipment. Employees have the equally important follow through that they take by holding their coworkers accountable, reporting what they see, and following appropriate processes every time. If that occurs then a true culture of safety will emerge. The business will thrive and everyone will make it home safely at the end of each day – a goal truly worth achieving.
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