Strong and effective safety programs have long held a stigma that they decrease productivity. This was a prevalent mindset by many organizations and would therefore cut corners to a very large extent. New research and more accurate reporting shows the exact opposite of this line of thought.
In a report completed by McGraw Hill in 2013, the numbers show the disparity between the long-held ideas and reality. It is not completely true that a safety program will not affect companies bottom line, however, the report only found those affected to be about 15% (McGraw, 2013). Even though the bottom line for that particular job may have been affected, the long term benefits vastly outweigh the temporary increase.
Some of the more significant numbers reported are a 51% return on investment (which on it’s own is a significant proponent) and an 82% increase in organizational reputation. This translates to more contracts, which was at a 66% increase, and 43% reported increased ability to complete projects ahead of schedule. From an organizational management viewpoint, the implementation of a safety program is a monumentally worthwhile investment.
However, there is another viewpoint to this, that of the employee. The numbers again show a very positive aspect for those on the actual job site.
There were 71% lower injuries on the projects, which not only increase employee satisfaction, but decreases worker’s compensation claims and fluctuating manning levels. There were no numbers for catastrophic injuries or fatalities during this report, but I believe it is safe to assume a safety program would decrease those as well. Numbers for permanent disability claims were also not provided, but with a 71% lower injury rate, this aspect is miniscule.
Overall, the report showed that the long held belief that safety programs only hinder an organization is not backed up in any real science. The numbers of this report show that not only did the organizations bottom line increase dramatically, their earning potential (linked to reputation and contracts) increased. Projects were completed faster and with increased quality, while worker injuries dropped significantly.
Any effective organization, regardless of their industry, requires an effective safety program. The ability for a competitive edge to be maintained in the global economy is directly linked to the reputation and capabilities of that company. Through the implementation of a safety program that is designed for the organization, that edge can be sharpened and maintained through the future.
“McGraw Hill Construction Report: Construction Safety Programs Yielding Business Benefits for Firms.” Entertainment Close-up 26 June 2013. Business Insights: Essentials. Web. 11 Oct. 2015