Are Workers Safety Programs Sexy?
You bet worker safety programs are sexy – and – I’m going to tell you why!
A 2016 Forbes article written by Larry Alton, recently caught my eye. Alton says, “Safety cultures consist of shared beliefs, practices and attitudes that exist at an establishment.” to me, this statement is more relevant today than it was in 2016! What’s sexy about that, you ask. Well we all know that workers get tired, bored, and distracted. Mistakes and accidents happen. Staying healthy – not getting hurt on the job – is certainly lot more sexy than the being all banged up after an accident. So what is a well-designed safety program?
Elements of a Well Designed Workers Safety Program
- All employees demonstrate a working knowledge of health and safety issues.
- A clear definition of the desired culture around safety is understood by all.
- There is a lack of competing priorities – safety first IS the priority.
- The company has made a financial commitment to safety.
- Opportunities for improvement have been identified.
- There is regular, facility-wide communication about health and safety.
- A fair and just discipline system is in place.
- Employees are actively engaged in health and safety.
- Employees feel comfortable reporting safety issues.
- Safety issues are dealt with in a timely and efficient manner.
That’s all fine but in order to be maximally effective safety plans have to have leadership commitment at all levels of the organization. To dive a bit deeper, some employers have told me that simply working to prevent minor injuries also prevents serious injuries. It should come as no surprise that OSHA has quite another take on loss prevention. They reference causal chains as the causative path in most on-the-job serious injuries. So, how can employers break up those causal chains and protect workers from injuries, both minor and severe? The safety programs put in place must to be supported by leadership and have worker buy-in, and as an employer, I can’t emphasize that enough. These programs have to be founded on hazard abatement, education, training, frequent program evaluation, and solid metrics.
I think we all know that injured workers typically have to take time off, may require special accommodations in order to return to work, and may never be able to perform their duties at the same level of performance prior to the injury. Injured workers also incur high medical costs, may hire an attorney, and may harbor a negative attitude about their employer, after an injury. The cost of claims negatively affects profitability and has the potential to damage credit ratings as well as the businesses’ ability to stay in business.
Safety Programs as a Value Proposition
The bottom line is that corporate leaders need to carefully consider the value of safety programs as a value proposition. And probably even more important to business owners, is the obvious fact that safety programs and profit are inextricably linked. In the world of workers’ compensation, a solid safety program paired with a strong Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) program will keep your claims down, — especially litigated claims and fraudulent claims. The result of pairing safety and ADR equals a lower mod rate that results in lower workers comp premiums. So my advice is to choose your workers compensation plan wisely and promote the recommended safety plan throughout your organization.
Michael A. DiManno is a thought leader and entrepreneur with over 30 years experience of innovation and fast growth with startup companies in Technology, Insurance, and Employment, or as he calls it “TIE” Services. Mr DiManno founded EmployEnsure, LLC (EE) a holding company and incubator for developing “cool stuff” for clients not being served by traditional “TIE” industries. He currently serves as CEO of EE’s signature brands: Samuel Hale and TalentHire.
Michael is a writer and speaker for entrepreneurial groups as well as “TIE” industries. He also supports his wife Debbie’s non-profit, Cour Training, which helps teens survive and thrive in the modern era of constant connection. They have raised 4 children and live with their two Rhodesian Ridgebacks in Northern California.
For more information, contact Mike directly.