Return on investment: Safety is just good business

J.J. Keller & Associates
Tags: workplace safety

In these challenging economic times, many companies are going to great lengths to reduce costs. Unfortunately, some companies look at cutting safety programs and processes as a necessary cost control measure. Maybe this sounds familiar?


On April 2, the 2008 KellerOnline Safety Professional of the Year winner, Harrold Black, came to J.J. Keller and spoke and spoke about his success with safety at Trex. Part of his success has been in demonstrating to the plant management team the return on investment that can be found in the safety and proving the value that a successful safety program provides.


Prior to Black taking over as safety manager Trex had a year with 14 recordable injuries, one of which was a workplace fatality. When he took over as the safety manager his job involved not only rebuilding the company’s culture around safety, but also reducing the accidents in the workplace. In his first year he was successful by reducing reportable injuries by nearly 65 percent and near misses by nearly 80 percent. So what was his return on investment? His hands-on approach to safety reduced workers’ compensation renewal premiums for his company by $700,000.


And how did KOL help him? Black said that to research a regulation prior to having KOL would take him eight or nine total hours to find exactly what he was looking for (such as the regulation, the LOI, etc). With KOL, it takes him a matter of minutes to find what he’s looking for on any given subject within the Topic Index and the service provides him with everything he needs – including regulations, LOIs, CPLs, STPs, training programs, and more! The ease with which he can access this information and the time savings it provides is an extremely important value to him.


Studies have shown that businesses pay a high price in the long run when money is cut from safety processes whether this comes in the form of increased injuries and illnesses, low employee morale, or higher production downtime. Some safety training that is required by OSHA is time sensitive and companies should consider different ways to conduct the training versus eliminating it altogether.


There are any number of things that companies can do to get the most from their safety dollar. And KOL offers you many tools and resources to help you to get the most bang for your buck.


How KOL can help

·        Track your near misses. Using the Incidents (Form 300/301), which can be found in the Interactive Tools area, you can list an incident as a Near Miss, First-Aid, or Other. By using these other categories for incidents that are not recordable, you can track trends in your workplace that can help you to prevent a recordable and keep a minor incident from becoming a costly injury.


·        Audit your facility. Performing audits of your workplace can help you to identify potential issues before they become problems. KOL offers a variety of audit checklists covering 600 topics – or you can customize or create your own checklists.


·        See how others are doing. Use the Benchmarking feature to see how you and your company compare to others in your industry. Or compare your performance to other companies of the same size. This can help you to determine how effectively you are spending your safety dollars.


·        Information Exchange. With the idea that two heads are better than one, you can ask questions in the KOL Member Discussion area or you can submit your questions via the Personal Assistant feature to one of J. J. Keller’s subject matter experts. By putting your safety questions in front of others, you can often gain valuable ideas or experiences that can help you – and it’s all part of your KOL subscription.


·        My Safety Program. And don’t forget about one of the most effective programs offered on KOL, My Safety Program. In this area you can assess your safety and health program, plan on what changes to make, implement your changes and plans, and then review the processes to make sure that you are in compliance and that things are working as planned.