Workplace Safety Index 2021 report, published by Liberty Mutual, reveals that non-fatal workplace injuries resulted in employers paying an estimated $1 billion per week as compensation costs for direct workers.
As per data from the National Safety Council, work-related deaths and injuries cumulatively cost the nation, employers, and individuals an estimated $171 billion (in 2019). Apart from compensation costs, injuries also lead to medical expenses and loss of productivity.
Without a doubt, these reasons make for a compelling case for employers to implement a robust health and safety management program. Research shows that good health and safety practices bring down these costs while improving productivity, boosting employee morale, and catalyzing business growth.
According to the American Society for Safety Professionals, sound safety practices make good business sense in addition to being socially responsible. A well-designed health and safety program will pay for itself in the long run, and the ROI from this investment will come from the following:
Improved Brand Reputation: Employers are viewed as being sustainable and responsible by their people, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders
Enhanced Compliance: They go beyond just compliance requirements, and make sure all H&S risks are addressed proactively
Cost Savings: Occupational safety and health (OSH) programs prevent injuries and incidents and therefore reduce the associated expenses
Improved Employee Satisfaction: Organizations that demonstrate their commitment to the health and safety of their employees find recruiting and retaining top talent easier
Increased Operational Efficiency: Higher worker productivity leads to faster revenue growth and long-term sustainability
From Operational Efficiency to Operational Excellence
According to LNS Research, nearly 80% of incidents are caused due to human error. This is especially true during times of transition or when a change is being implemented to a particular business process.
A strong foundation of operational discipline is required to reduce incidents, proactively reduce risk, improve workplace safety, and ensure all processes are implemented as per the documented SOP.
However, disparate systems and silos prevent businesses from achieving operational discipline due to a lack of visibility into certain parts of the overall workflow. In a world where Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) has come into focus from investors and shareholders — sustainable operations become difficult without a culture change that goes beyond just operational efficiency.
The need of the hour is “Operational Excellence”. So, what do we mean by this? Is it just another fancy term for improved productivity and effective cost savings?
According to LNS Research, Operational Excellence is an ‘Industry 4.0 term’ that emphasizes the need for proactive and comprehensive management of various risks.
It requires business leaders to bring together people, processes, and systems from across departments to operate in unison, with a holistic approach towards certain non-negotiable aspects. This includes quality, safety, compliance, and sustainability. It requires an organizational culture of shared values and beliefs to guide “everything the organization does” – interaction with employees, collaboration with suppliers, its approach towards risk management, how to react when something goes wrong, etc.
A Comprehensive EHS Solution to Bring About Cultural Change and Drive Operational Excellence Efforts
To break silos and integrate operations, businesses need digital technologies that facilitate risk management in real-time. The system must provide visibility into data generated from IoT devices, embedded systems, other business systems like ERP and CRM, and data from wearables like PPT or heart-rate monitors. When all this data is available on a single, unified, integrated platform, it becomes easy to analyze safety data in one place, spot trends, gather insights, and overall improve safety-related decision-making.
A comprehensive EHS solution leverages this data to improve the overall safety management system and establish a culture of safety. It empowers managers with the data needed to respond to potential hazards and fine-tune processes with agility and nimbleness.
It also provides employees with tools to report events, track progress on action taken, and reassures them of the employer’s commitment to workplace safety. This improves their loyalty and trust, thereby increasing their engagement and productivity. A change in mindset helps enforce safe behavior and reduce incidents and events in the workplace. Digitalization of the safety function transforms it from being a cost center to one of strategic importance that adds value to operations and ensures Operational Excellence.
Cloud-based solutions such as ComplianceQuest’s EHS also reduce the cost of implementing safety management solutions while improving real-time risk management capabilities.
Some of the ways in which a comprehensive EHS solution such as CQ’s EHS accelerates operational excellence include:
- Going beyond only lagging indicators and focusing on leading indicators as well
- While enabling data-driven root cause analysis, they also facilitate predictive analysis by capturing trends and identifying potential risks
- Empowering employees with tools to proactively participate in implementing safety through timely reporting of near misses, observations, and incidents
- Training management ensures equipping employees with the necessary skills to reinforce safe behavior
- Providing managers with data for proactive risk mitigation
Some of the key features of CQ EHS that help with operational excellence include:.
- Environmental and Sustainability Management – Allows managing, tracking, and analyzing environmental and sustainability metrics
- Incident Reporting and Management – Allows reporting and management of incidents even as it unfold using any device and adding photographs for timely action
- Management Review – Empowers management with a tower of safety data for continuous improvement of safety management
- Permit to Work – Allow only authorized employees in highly hazardous areas to reduce risks
- Risk – Manage operational risk tracking, evaluation, mitigation, and monitoring
- Safety Observations – Provides 360-degree vision into enterprise-wide safety risks
- Supplier – Facilitates partnering with suppliers, contractors, and vendors to Improve Safety
- Training – Identifies gaps and helps plan training courses, assessments, and follow-throughs to ensure employees are up to date with safety requirementsts
Reports and dashboards provide visibility into real-time data, presented in customizable charts and visualizations for a deeper understanding of issues. 5 Why Root Cause Analysis, CAPA, anthropomorphic presentation of injury data with insights into most common injuries in different geographies further can help improve the effectiveness of safety management.
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