According to OSHA, the average cost per injury that required medical consultation was $130,000 in 2019. The average cost per fatality was $1.22 million.
Among industries, the manufacturing sector contributed almost 15% of all injuries, and combined with injuries in transportation and warehousing functions, it amounts to nearly 45%. In 2019, there were more injuries in the manufacturing sector than in construction, though the perception is that the latter is the riskier industry in terms of safety. Of course, accidents in the construction industry are sometimes more fatal.
But the overall point is – the safety of your employees must never be ignored in any sector and business leaders must design a robust safety management system and proactively take action to reduce safety risks.
Beyond Costs: Safety Impacts Availability of Committed Employees
Unfortunately, in some cases, safety initiatives become focused on lowering the economic burden that comes with injuries or death. Safety events lead to additional costs from replacing employees, litigation, compensation payments, and regulatory penalties.
But there is another side to the safety issue at enterprises, especially in manufacturing and construction industries. There is already a severe shortage of workers and companies struggle to find replacements after accidents or mishaps.
People want to join organizations where there is a serious commitment to health and safety.
Additionally, committed employees are critical to mitigating safety risks. In addition to putting in place the right systems and processes, your people must report all near-misses and safety observations in real-time. This requires a team that embraces a safety-first approach, and this will come from regular training and well-planned communication.
Three Critical Factors to build an effective safety culture
A reactive approach does not work
Creating a culture of safety goes beyond processes and checklists that are reactive and are triggered after an incident takes place. Unfortunately, this is often the case. To make the workplace safe, preventing incidents and injuries is important and data visibility is critical for this. Each and every near-miss or safety observation must be recorded and classified based on risk level. Safety leaders then must run a collaborative, agile process to take corrective action and prevent recurrence.
Your enterprise needs a modern EHS
A modern EHS is designed to be data-driven. For instance, with a next-generation EHS like ComplianceQuest, you can centralize all your incident data, near misses, safety observations, and investigations and put together a plan for taking corrective actions. It is designed to be collaborative where key stakeholders come together to address issues on time.
Furthermore, proactive risk mitigation means that you should be able to detect a hazardous trend ahead of time. Using built-in analytics, predictive intelligence, dashboards, and mobile capabilities, safety leaders are empowered to act based on data.
Additionally, an EHS tool is not only for the health and safety team. It must be designed to allow anyone in the organization to report incidents, near-misses, or safety observations. The ComplianceQuest EHS solution incorporates a user-friendly, intuitive portal wherein employees from any department and in any location can report an incident, near-miss, or observation.
A connected ecosystem
Safety leaders across the world are batting for an EHS that seamlessly integrates with the rest of the organization’s business processes. This means that the EHS must connect with the EQMS, ERP, and CRM. There are several factors that come into play here. For instance, equipment maintenance, ongoing training of maintenance personnel, and swift flow of information from the CRM in case customers raise safety-related complaints are all crucial.
As enterprises gear up for the next phase of their digital transformation journey, it is critical that they design and implement a connected system, one where the flow of information is seamless.
Of course, in addition to all this, safety leaders are responsible for all regulatory compliance. As regulations become increasingly complex and expansive, more companies move into the OSHA severe violator category each year. A robust EHS will make it easy for your workforce to automate the process of compliance and regulatory submissions.
This blog is based on EHS Today’s Webcast on ‘Are They Safe? Mitigating Employee Risk Factors on the Job’.