Uncertain Economic Times: Can You Afford to Invest in Health and Safety?

The simple answer is yes. Even in rough economic times, investing in an integrated health and safety approach will always save you money in the long run. One of the top challenges for employers in the service sector is employee loyalty and retention. Integrating health and safety into your business operations communicates loudly that you care about your employees. Employees who feel valued have greater loyalty to their employers.

The Health and Safety Return on Investment

Healthy and Safe Employees Are Worth It

One of your key competitive strengths is the knowledge and experience of your employees. Health and safety directly improves employee morale and motivation which translates into:

The True Cost of Health And Safety

Aside from legislative compliance, which requires all businesses to provide safe work environments, preventing injuries is the smart way to maximize your profitability. Not investing in health and safety, particularly in times of keen competition and low profit margins, can cost you 4-25 times the direct costs of wage replacement.

For example:

A seasonal employee who strains his back is off work for five days. Assuming that person will make $13,000 in a 6 month period, the indirect costs to your business at 5 times the direct cost amounts to $2,500. Assuming a 5% profit margin, the revenue needed to off-set the cost of this accident is $50,000.

Don’t forget...

indirect costs have a real impact on your bottom-line:

  • hiring expenses for replacement workers
  • training for replacement workers
  • overtime for managers
  • disruption in service or productivity
  • potential customer loss
  • cost to public image
  • time to complete investigation and WSIB forms

The cost of one minor back injury compounded by increasing WSIB premiums (7.9% increase in 2003 for your WSIB Rate Group 921) can lead to significant costs for your business - which was entirely preventable.

Investing in Health & Safety – How Much Will it Cost?

The most economical and practical way to manage workplace health and safety is to develop safe work practices and integrate them into your daily operations. The commitment to health and safety must be high but there are ways to integrate the safety message without a lot of additional costs or expenses. Taking simple, basic and appropriate steps can make an integrated health and safety approach happen with relative ease over time.

Simple Steps You Can Take Today

1. Use your existing communications vehicles to raise the awareness of health and safety issues

2. Orient new staff and young workers

Young workers are more likely to experience an injury on the job, so it is important that your expectations around health and safety behaviour be articulated.

3. Include safety performance in employee performance appraisals

4. Involve employee input on how to improve a business issue/operation

You’re not alone: OSSA Can Help You

Part of your insurance premiums pay for the services of OSSA as part of the Ontario occupational health and safety system. You’re already a member of OSSA and in good company. We know that businesses from the service sector that have been working with OSSA for the past five years saved $2.50 in premiums and benefit costs for every dollar spent on prevention.

OSSA offers you a variety of ways to work with us. You can work one-on-one with a consultant at no charge, access services and products on-line through our web site, or receive information from our Client Services Line. All inquiries and services to our clients are kept strictly confidential. Contact OSSA at 1-888-478-6772 or visit http://www.ossa.com to locate a consultant near you.


This article was taken from pages 8 & 9 of NOTO's "The Outfitter" publication, September/October 2003 Issue

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