An advanced mindset towards workplace safety

WORK PLACE safety is defined as, the preventative measures taken by the organization to reduce the health hazards present in a working environment, essentially to ensure the well being of the workers and working area. Organizations develop safety, health and environment policies (SHandE) in accordance with their own standards and local laws which are enforced by the government bodies. However, the questions arise that should the occupational safety procedures only be followed to the extent where it is a legal requirement for an investor to do business? Are measures for safety of work place and work force worth to be taken beyond the demands of state laws? Do investments in safety in any way benefit the investors concerns regarding profitability? Usually considering the arguments, the answer may be no, because safety programs and trainings are not a direct source of income; nevertheless the fact is they do are a direct source of capital consumption in an organization. Safety requires skilled personals, continuous trainings, expensive equipments and technologies in order to integrate it into design and operation of an industry. Even further once the design has been materialized in to a production unit it becomes even more difficult and costly to change the adopted safety standard and design. So whats to encourage the investor to be more thoughtful on safety considerations during design and construction phase of a workplace? When the resources to be invested in the business are limited? When other several problem and situations require consideration? If approach is slightly shifted, it can be easily understood that safety is not just a reason to consume finance it is a source to generate earnings of such heights that can completely reshape the profitability, quality, image and enthusiasm of a business organization.

The most interesting fact about safety is that while consuming finance, the principal benefit that comes from safety is also financial and this fact can be easily understood by following example. Providing a safety helmet to a worker at a construction site can cost about 15 dollars and providing it to a team of 100 workers can cost nearly 1500 dollars to organization, but In case of an impact form a falling object a 15 dollars helmet can avoid an accident which can result in fatality or serious injury of a worker, costing an organization several thousand dollars. Similarly, robot safeguards such as perimeter fencing or light beam sensors that are used to surround and interlock the operation of a robot, can cost from few hundred to a few thousand dollars but can be very help full to avoid serious accidents caused due to operation and impact of moving robot arm which can damage the robot itself, some other equipment and cause injury to worker, costing the organization something within five to six figures of dollar.

The expenses from accidents are not only limited to the hospitalization and compensation paid to the victims, they can also include the cost of lost production, insurance outlays, penalties due delays in supply and service and additional administrative as well as legal work loads. Unfortunately, these overheads are not constant with time; they also climb with inflation, becoming an extra load on the financial resources of an organization. These expenditures when combined together can be colossal in contrast to the outlay spent on safety measures of a work place; therefore, it becomes quite clear when taking economic considerations into account that the best approach is to fund safety rather than the consequences of accidents. True to its words, a survey conducted by an insurance company reveals that for every single dollar spent in safety results in saving of three dollars. The safety expenditures are much more like an investment that delivers profit to the business; the difference is that these profits arent straightly mentioned in the income or profit statistics of a business.

Other than economic setbacks, overlooking safer design considerations also results in some critical consequences which are almost impossible to measure in the form of figures. These include reduced morale in workers mainly due the reason that they dont feel safe while working or they are the first hand witness of accidents, this feeling distracts their focus from the job at hand, producing a environment in an organization which disables it from reaping true potentials and abilities of its employees. The image of the organization also declines as the dynamic, higher skilled and enthusiastic work force is lesser attracted to organizations which have reputation for accidents and unsafe acts.

The whole situation after sum up deprives the organization from meeting the market standards and commitments made from customer, deteriorating the ultimate quality deliverable of the organization in a world where competition already is pushed to the limit, markets are getting saturated and consumer preferences are not persistent with time. In contrast if hazards and accidents are reduced at workplace the confidence of work force heightens, enabling them to accomplish their job with greater efficiency. The relation between the management and worker also strengthen as employees believe that they are backed with a management who cares for them and on the other hand management can brace itself for current and future challenges as they believe they have competent work force on which they can rely and achieve their goals.

Apart from above review, it is also somewhat a common belief around the world that investments in safety are beneficial in one and other form or it is the right thing to do but sorrowfully and contrary to the common idea the death toll and financial losses from accidents are immense all across the world. Every year in the world, 2.2 million casualties occur from workplace accidents, injuries and diseases. Each year around 4% of worlds gross domestic production is claimed by death, injury, disease, medical treatment and worker compensation due to accidents. Even in some of the most developed countries of world such as United States of America each year 6000 workers die from work place injuries, 50000 fatalities occur from workplace hazards and 6 million employees suffer non-fatal injuries, depriving US businesses from 125 billion dollars annually.

These figures demonstrate that in our world either there is some overlooking in safer design and operation or there is some dearth in safety structure and even in developed counties like USA where occupational safety laws are extremely strict and considered as a benchmark in most of the world, are not excluded from this circle. In order to counter accidents and elevate safety standard in world, it generally seems a plausible solution to raise the penalties and federal safety laws as it causes the employers more stick to the safety laws and negligence costs them extremely. This action had been in practice in past and also in present, and is the major initiative taken by governments to reduce accidents but this all alone isnt a complete answer to the situation as we can realize from occupational accident statistics of USA.

The comprehensive solution lies in understanding and realization of benefits that can be achieved by emphasizing on safety, the induction of recognition in the minds of business persons that there is more in safety rather just the well being of workforce or protection from government fines. The governments should also increase emphasis on developing a mind set of business personals with respect to returns they can achieve form stress on work place safety and investors should also be considerate to the fact that with worlds businesses thrusting to meet ends with newer zeniths, critical competition, continuous inflation, hastily changing technologies and creative business strategies workplace safety measures can make difference between a leading organization and a following organization. Such an attitude towards safety will help to push the workplace safety one step closer to the ideal working environment where there would lesser accidents, lives and financial losses.

<fahadullah336@gmail.com>

Web Team

Technology Times Web team handles all matters relevant to website posting and management.

Leave a Reply