Safety First!

Safety in the workplace makes a good business sense. A lack of proper safety measures and practices can lead to accidents, added business expenses and missed work days. This is often referred to Lost-Time Injury or LTI and is measured according to hours lost in productivity. Most industrial companies measure their safety performance by maintaining a low level of Lost-Time Injury Frequency (LTIF). Whether to the employer or employee, safety is a valuable investment that helps companies to stay in business.

Developing a work environment that endorses safety in all areas of a business     indicates organizational commitment and awareness to employee wellbeing. There is a number of industry sectors worldwide which have identified the benefits of effective safety management by implementing a comprehensive business management system designed to manage safety elements in the workplace known as Safety Management System (SMS). A company that adopts SMS usually meets the minimum requirements of general health and safety laws by incorporating safety objectives into company goals. Furthermore, a company should promote safety in the workplace through management leadership; employee participation; hazard identification and prevention; and education and training. When identifying safety hazards in the workplace, the company should remove them where possible to mitigate the risks. If the hazard cannot be removed from the workplace, employee should be made aware that they exist and how to avoid them.

Companies around the world losses a hefty amount of money each year due to weak workplace safety implementation that leads to accidents. In the 2005-2006 financial year of Australia, the total economic cost for workplace related incidents and illness was estimated to be $57.5 billion, representing 5.9 per cent of GDP. The cost of workplace related incidents is often divided into two categories: direct costs and indirect costs. Direct costs include property damages, injury or fatality reimbursement, loss of key staff, disruption to business activity, increased workers compensation liability, fines and legal responsibility. Indirect costs refer to the worker’s lost wages, productivity losses, recruiting and training costs, decreased morale and damage to the company reputation. These indirect costs have been calculated at between 8 and 36 times the direct costs.

Providing a safe workplace for employees and customers is vital to all businesses, regardless of size or industry. The relative impacts of workplace safety hazards on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is greater than on comparable larger enterprises. Generally, SMEs lack readily available credit, and that is why it is essential that they understand the economic benefits of improving and promoting safety; otherwise, they will go out of business so easily if safety to be violated.

A strong investment and implementation of safety culture in the workplace is extremely important to businesses and cannot be compromised as it is considered in the same manner as other elements of business management.

Further Reading: Safe Business Is Good Business