When a CEO was hired on at a large manufacturing company, one of his first orders of business was to institute a major program to reduce accidents. Some of his senior managers pushed back a little, wondering if there shouldn’t be some solid financial justification for this. His reaction to the push back was interesting. He basically stated that a good safety program would reduce costs and improve profits, even if it didn’t prevent a single accident! Of course, he knew that accidents would drop, but he made some interesting assertions:
A safety program would be something that the worker would easily buy into because reducing injuries was a tangible benefit that everyone could relate to. So a safety program was a great way to get employees involved.
A safety program can improve worker moral. When employees see time, effort, and money going into improving safety, the company is showing them that they care. Conversely, a company that does nothing to promote safety sends a very negative message to workforce.
A sound safety program requires attention to detail, which carries over to other parts of the job such as quality and on-time delivery.
A safety program can improve productivity – not only by reducing accidents but also by investing in mechanization and equipment that tend to improve output. Employees feel less fatigued and can work at higher rates for a longer period of time.
A good safety program will result in a cleaner, less cluttered plant. Cleaner, less cluttered plants are more likely to impress your customers as well as potential employees. They are also more enjoyable to work in. Less clutter also means less time searching for stuff.
His final point was the strongest: A company will not succeed in any cost reduction or quality improvement program if the employees don’t believe that the company has their best interest in mind. Not having a safety program will impede the success of any program. A safety program forces management to pay attention to its most important asset: its employees.