Making a business case for safety

Safety and safety programs are often thought of as a cost or a grudge expense for your business.  If you do the calculations you may find out that it can be an investment, a commitment of resources to earn financial return or gain future benefits.

How does investing in safety impact the bottom line?

The calculation can be made by someone in finance or accounting.  Workplace injuries have direct costs to your company which will be seen in your worker’s compensation figures. These include medical costs, wage indemnity and compensation premiums. Workplace injuries also have indirect costs (often estimated to be 5 times the direct costs); lost production, damage to public image, sick time, turnover and retraining and damage to public relations.

Once you know that injuries and illness is costing your company, calculate what the payback would be for investing in a program to create a healthy safety culture and limiting risky behavior.

When PPE Equipment Is A Danger, Not A Solution

When PPE Equipment Is A Danger, Not A Solution

Author: Justin Arnold

We’re all very much aware of the fact that PPE equipment in almost any field of work or industry is an absolute essential, not just in order to comply with current health and safety at work legislation, but also because of the increased danger which is often involved in using more powerful equipment sharper, faster tools, or working in dangerous locations.

As more understanding of risks and how to protect against them is accumulated, so does the variety of ways in which we can protect against them. But the trouble is that whilst we have become more aware of the need to protect against the risks and dangers posed by working with dangerous tools or equipment, and the range of types of PPE equipment has grown massively, so has the challenge of trying to make the right choice every time. Often the right choice isn’t necessarily the most obvious one, and there are many factors which need to be considered in order to make the best choice in every situation.

For example, it may be that in many situation high visibility PPE clothing in fluorescent yellow is ideal, helping to make sure that the person is highly visible. But in some situations it may well prove to be the case that anyone wearing yellow is very much less visible than needed. Some environments or weathers make yellow a poor choice, and in these cases fluorescent orange or green may be a better choice. Just because something has the words ‘high visibility’ stamped on it, or ‘safety’ written in big, confidence inspiring letters doesn’t necessarily mean that it will provide the level of visibility required, or indeed that it will help keep the person safe.

Another potential issue is when combining multiple items of safety equipment at the same time. For example, it may be that if you are required to weld galvanised steel you will be required to wear eye protection, and because of the fact that the fumes resulting from welding galvanised steel are highly toxic, you will usually be required to wear some form of breathing apparatus or respirator. However, whilst each item of PPE equipment may on its own be ideal, highly recommended and provide a decent level of protection, you may find that once you fit the respirator the eye protection no longer fits, or that once you have fitted the eye protection, the breathing apparatus no longer fits snugly over your face.

It is essential therefore not to see each item of personal protective equipment by itself, but as part of a combination of solutions, and within the context of a whole range of situations and environments. This can necessarily inflate the overall cost of having safety equipment, but this is still far less than the cost of providing compensation in the event of an accident, injury or death, or the loss of revenue which the bad publicity is likely to cause.

Another potential problem is in providing safety clothing to people which fits correctly. The safest work gloves in the world may be next to useless if they don’t fit properly, and they may even represent an added danger themselves. Loose fitting safety clothing which is too big can easily get caught in machinery, and can reduce a person’s dexterity. This may result in an accident which would never otherwise have happened.

So it is true to say that unless PPE equipment and clothing is purchased with these factors in mind, the potential risk or danger may in fact be exacerbated, which is of course the last thing to strive for. If in any doubt then it is important to seek professional and experienced help and advice pertinent to your specific requirements, rather than take a chance and trust too much in the word ‘safety’ stamped on your PPE equipment.

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About the Author

For further advice and information about PPE equipment visit Intersafety, one of the UK’s leading independent suppliers of safety equipment, including a wide selection of work gloves.