Safety Training

Accidents and injuries in the workplace can be very frightening to most companies in corporate America today. The US Department of Labor reported a total of 2,857,400 OSHA recordable cases in the US across all business sectors.

If we add numbers and dollar signs associated with those numbers, that means that the average back injury (sprain/strain) can cost more than $10,000 in direct costs (NSC Statistics) and anywhere from $30,000 up to $100,000 in indirect costs!

For a small growing company, this could mean putting their business in jeopardy financially, or impact their reputation in a negative way at an early stage of growth. For larger companies, this could mean years of paying out injury related and legal expenses.

To further understand the effects of injuries, this article sets forth some basic standard operating procedures employers can implement to understand the true cost of injuries in their workplace.

Effects of accidents and injuries in the workplace

Workplace accidents and injuries have several negative effects on employees, families, management and the company as a whole. Effects of injuries in the workplace include:

  • Financial costs from fines, medical treatments, death, survivor benefits, and safety corrections.
  • Lost time from disabling injuries, both from the injury itself and follow-up medical checkups after the injured employee returns to work.
  • Damage to employee morale leading to lower productivity.
  • Lower productivity while the injured employee is off work.
  • Reduced trust in management.
  • Increased absenteeism and turnover because employees don’t feel safe on the job.

However, accidents and injuries can also have the positive effect of focusing attention on safety issues and accident prevention. When an accident occurs, many employers don’t understand that the way each case is handled and the amount of care that members of management put into it, is the final impression that is transmitted to all employees.

If employees see that their employers take each accident and injury very serious, they’re more likely to assist in accident prevention programs and a positive morale will be present.

Estimating costs of accidents

Management needs to be able to determine the cost of accidents in order to prove that accidents are more costly than prevention programs. To estimate the cost of accidents, management members need to do the following:

1.Divide accidents into major classes:

    • Those involving lost workdays, permanent partial disabilities, and temporary total disabilities.
    • Those requiring treatment from an outside physician.
    • Those treated with first aid on site, with minimal property damage and work loss time.
    • Those requiring no first aid or physician visits.
2.Examine accounting records to determine the insured costs associated with accidents.
3.Calculate the uninsured costs associated with accidents, including the following:
    • Lost work hours
    • Medical costs
    • Property loss and damage
    • Insurance premiums
    • Hidden costs such as the cost of the investigation and emergency response.

Once the cost of several accidents over a period of time is known, an estimate can be made of the average cost of an accident in each class. This helps management create incentive programs and also new or improved accident prevention programs.

As an employer we all understand that any accident or injury that occurs on the job will cost money, the real question is, how much money? How do you evaluate the risks in your areas of employment? Where do you begin? What corrective action do you implement? How do you know that the corrective action taken is the most efficient and effective?
These questions can and will continue to add up, therefore, employers need the professional guidance and experience in these areas so that the real needs of their business are focused on to prevent future injuries.

Alan STCAlan Hurtado
STC Safety Consultant

“It’s Not What You Know or What You Do. It’s HOW You Do It. “

STC Leadership

The saying, “It’s not what you know or what you do, but HOW you do it” best illustrates the difference between a safety professional and a safety leader.
Many of today’s corporate and industry leaders feel that, if they hire a safety professional who possesses all the accreditation’s and safety degrees available, they’re bound to end up with just the right person.
Invariably, a great deal of effort goes into recruiting a candidate who appears to have all the required “boxes ticked” only to sometimes discover that, while education and experience are undoubtedly essential, they are not the most important factors in determining whether a person will effectively lead the organization toward safety excellence.
The best results will be obtained, in fact, by those who possess the ability to combine education and experience with servant leadership.
Servant leadership is a widely recognized and highly valued leadership style that puts the focus on individuals and encourages the embracement of core values and personal development of the members of the organization.
An individual who, along with education and experience also embodies servant leadership, is a safety leader and will be far more likely to lead an organization toward the attainment of safety excellence than the safety professional who relies upon knowledge and experience only.
Here are a few indicators that differentiate the safety professional and safety leader:
  • Safety professionals lead from behind a desk.
  • Safety leaders lead from the front and are visible in all work places and accessible to their people -they are the veritable “Tip of the spear” in the charge toward safety excellence.
  • Safety professionals know the safety rules and regulations.
  • Safety leaders know the safety rules and regulations and can be relied upon consistently to set a personal example of adherence to the rules—they are, in essence, “Poster Children” for wearing PPE and complying with all established policies and procedures.
  • Safety professionals tell people what to do to comply with safety.
  • Safety leaders demonstrate personal compliance with safety and never ask people to do things they wouldn’t or couldn’t do themselves in the first place.
  • Safety professionals realize the importance of demonstrating competency and knowledge in managing resources.
  • Safety leaders realize the importance of sharing competency and knowledge with others to develop their skills and never forget that people are their most valuable asset—they genuinely care about people.
  • Safety professionals possess excellent speaking and writing abilities.
  • Safety leaders possess excellent speaking and writing abilities but put a premium on being an active listener—they seek to understand before being understood.
  • Safety professionals can be relied upon to make people accountable for safety.
  •  Safety leaders make people accountable for safety but can also be relied up to reward good behavior in the form of formal recognition or perhaps even a well-deserved pat on the back.

The list could go on, but have no doubt, there is a world of difference between a safety professional and a safety leader. The outcomes for the organization’s expectations and goals in pursuit of safety excellence will be determined not so much by what they know or do, but in HOW they do it.

STC’s Vision for Success

At STC, we are focused on preserving the world’s most precious resource – human life. In order to do that, we understand the importance of building and sustaining effective safety management systems that produce tangible results over time.
In order to implement this type of safety system, STC follows the practical framework of Plan-Do-Check Act (PDCA) which is included in ISO 45001. The 4 steps are summarized below:
  • Identify safety hazards and risks in the workplace
  • Build and/or revise safety policies, programs & procedures
  • Establish safety goals & objectives moving forward
  • Put preventive & protective measures in place
  • Communicate safety policies and procedures to organization
  • Execute safety inspections/audits, training, meetings, investigations
  • Monitor and measure safety activities
  • Leverage technology for the trending and tracking of data
  • Analyze results consistently
  • Review safety results in comparison to set goals
  • Hold people and divisions accountable (positive or negative)
  • Improve overall plan and continue the cycle

As you can tell, this process is simplified to create a framework that gives way to continual improvement over time. STC Safety works with both leaders and employees to help build and sustain the safest working environment possible.

If you are interested in learning more about STC Safety and ways in which we can help your organization develop an effective safety management system, simply reply back to this email or call our office at the number listed below.

STC recently spoke at the Reducing Risks & Liabilities Symposium in Dallas about cultivating a strong safety culture through leadership. Here are the main take-aways from our presentation:

WHY, What, and How…

In order for there to be true buy-in to the program, employees must first understand the WHY (i.e. the purpose of safety & health). Internalizing the WHY will encourage employees to know the safety standards (the what) and follow them the right way (the how).

In order to build an effective safety culture, there must be leadership vision & alignment, employee involvement, and a system/framework in place to sustain the safety program.

The attributes of a strong safety culture include accountability, consistency, collaboration, and continual improvement over time.

If you are interested in STC giving this presentation to your leaders and supervisors in your organization, please reach out by simply calling our office at 972-347-3377.

Thank you to everyone who came out to the symposium this week. We appreciate your time and hope the event was worthwhile for you and your team!

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