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SAFETY CORNER Safety for Profit

BY KEVIN ERNST MCM Safety Director

The last time I wrote an essay or article

was to give my insight concerning a well- known American novel during a college world literature course. I like to read a book simply for its story, but in studying literature you’re taught to look for the greater message the author is try to convey. What in the world does that have to do with Safety? Read on. Safety acceptance and training in the

workplace has a history of being looked upon as an add-on, something you have to do, compliance-driven, after the fact reaction; in other words, another forced expense upon business owners. Just this recognition alone, or admission of what’s actually happening, will help in understanding the greater message—the inside story of safety. It is a proven fact that safety, efficiency,

productivity and profitability are interwoven in today’s successful business model. That is the inside story competitors are using to their advantage over those who refuse to read between the lines. An investment in safety is a tangible tool that will provide a good return on investment. Safety improves efficiency, which in turn drives productivity and increases profitability. If it is viewed only as compliance, then safety is never given a ‘first position’ in the organization that allows it to contribute rather than complicate. Some would argue that safety complicates their organization’s efficiency. If one were to initiate a root cause analysis as to why it interferes, you would find a broken operation’s system within the organization (business) that doesn’t accept safety. I would ask in such a case that we don’t disregard or throw out the safety, but fix the operational systems. Not long ago I visited a transportation

company here in Montana. As I walked in, I overheard an office manager answering the phone: “Hello, [Blank] Trucking where Safety is First”. A quick observation would inform you that they promote safety here, but the


greater story when you read between the lines is that they are in business for a profit, and I say that is a good thing. According to excerpts from the Safety

Management Group’s Costs of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, the true costs of an illness or injury are broken down as follows:

Direct Costs are only 29% Indirect costs typically 71% (additional) The indirect costs include fringe benefits

such as short term disability, continued employer paid benefits for non-productive worker, plus additional work place training, re-staffing, loss of production, disruption

ISSUE 2, 2012 |

in business operations, and additional insurance administration costs that may affect future premiums, etc. There is an injury cost calculator available

online through the Safety Management Group at www.safetymanagementgroup. com/injury-cost-calculator for anyone, especially any business that is concerned about real costs of business operations. This is why certain business leaders

and department managers who can read between the lines and understand the greater picture that a safety program contributes to their business, are succeeding against their competition. Safety is business. Gear Up for Safety! RW


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