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At ONEC, prioritizing safety isn’t just a moral obligation; it’s a strategic imperative that directly impacts our company’s success. In this month’s edition of the ONEC Advantage Blog, our own Senior HSE Advisor, Thomas Newall, explores the reputation of safety within an organization, and its overall impact on employees and the business itself.

Right off the bat, safety usually receives a bad reputation, not just from an employee standpoint but businesses too, with the typical “safety is slowing us down” or “permits take too long in the morning” or the one we have all probably heard, “your book doesn’t know how to do my job”, and they are probably right.

Not every safety professional knows how each person’s role is affected, nor do we know all the industry’s best practices that can be utilized to keep those employees safer. Safety professionals need to engage with those with years of experience and involve them in developing practices and procedures to help employees do their jobs properly. Sometimes, that can be difficult to navigate if safety is not approachable or experienced staff members are hard to work with. Safety needs to remain approachable to staff, and understand business situations while maintaining a “Plan, Do, Check, Act” (PDCA Cycle – What Is the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle? | ASQ, n.d.) methodology, not just in safety management programs and business, but with employees as well, while also trusting that they can do the task and verify it is done safely and correctly. This helps build a foundation for continuous improvement relationships.

Another perspective leans into the corporate outlook of how safety affects day-to-day business. In a lot of instances, businesses chalk it down to numbers, whether that’s money or KPIs, to understand as an organization, where their faults are, and where they are succeeding or improving. The typical outlook is that safety costs money, and it does. However, “how much money do you want to spend?”, is the question that should be asked. As a safety professional or an organization, have you ever done a cost analysis on an incident that happened at your organization and compared it to the cost of a proactive approach? Or the cost of repairs compared to maintenance? The proactive approach usually costs less over the long term and falls higher on your hazard control scheme with less of an impact on business operations. A simple example of this could be injury case management. And while none of us wish to see or involve people in a process where they get hurt, the management of that case still needs to be handled and care provided to the employee as needed.

As an organization, if you work with the employee to find meaningful modified duties in your company, you may see the immediate cost of keeping that person employed, but the long-term effects on your business are lessened by either fewer WCB premiums or maintaining a competitive KPI approach in bidding processes to keep money flowing.

Sometimes, safety has a bigger effect on business than we usually give it credit for.

References

PDCA Cycle – What is the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle? | ASQ. (n.d.). https://asq.org/quality-resources/pdca-cycle

Safety should always be kept top of mind and at the forefront of any business’s agenda. We thank Thomas for his commitment to upholding the safety culture at ONEC and our staff for their dedication to executing work safely.

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