Few business owners would say they don’t care about safety. Most people want their employees to work without risk of injury or illness. A verbal commitment to safety isn’t enough to create a safe working environment, however.
The workplace continues to pose danger to people in many occupations, including construction and logging. In fact, 5,190 American workers died on the job in 2016 alone. These numbers should concern workers and business owners alike.
In order to create a safe working environment for employees, business owners need to invest in training and equipment. Let’s consider why and how businesses should incorporate workplace safety into their budgets.
Investing in Safety Saves Money and Lives
Workplace safety is essential to every part of a business — from recruiting, to productivity to employee retention. Neglecting safety can cost businesses vast amounts of money, even if they think they’re saving on safety initiatives.
In a direct sense, investing in safety requires a financial commitment from an employer. They may have to purchase safety equipment and reserve time for necessary training, for example. However, these investments bring the business returns through a safe working environment.
A work environment that prioritizes safety saves money by avoiding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines and reducing the number of days employees spend unable to work. Additionally, a business that complies with OSHA standards is less likely to deal with costly lawsuits following worker injury.
A well-funded workplace safety initiative also increases productivity and drives profits by promoting health, high morale and a good public image. This same workplace may draw new talent more easily when they see the company takes health and safety seriously. This is especially important for small businesses to realize since they don’t often have the safety standards larger companies set in place.
In short, investing in safety reduces the number of money businesses spend dealing with injuries and increases the profits that come from healthy, happy employees. So, every business should seriously consider adding workplace safety to the budget.
Incorporating Safety Into the Budget
Many business owners understand the importance of safety but don’t see how they can incorporate it into their budget. To understand how to create a safety budget, business owners first need to understand the current state of their workplace.
Every work environment is unique. This means that the safety risks in one environment will vary from those in the next. The safety risks of working in a hospital, for example, will be very different than those faced by someone working on the Death Star.
Assess the current working environment for safety risks by observing and asking employees for their input. You can also see where safety may need improvement by looking for patterns in workplace injuries and accidents.
Once you understand your workplace’s unique hazards, you can begin budgeting for improvements. Use this OSHA safety risk tool to assess the amount of money your company spends dealing with injuries in an average year. You can then allocate that number to increasing safety training, purchasing safer equipment and taking other steps to protect workers. Though you may spend more money at first, you will likely see returns as safety increases.
Of course, the amount each business spends on safety will vary. As long as your business complies with OSHA guidelines and makes safety a company priority, you’re on the right track.
Promoting Workplace Safety
Safety isn’t always a business owner’s top concern. However, protecting workers from an unsafe environment comes with financial savings and priceless returns. By investing in proper workplace safety, you can grow your business while helping prevent unnecessary injuries.