As a CEO myself, it's my responsibility to make sure the company is getting adequate return on investment (ROI) on the money it spends. That includes safety. Although companies would have to invest some money in safety just to say they've done it, if ROI is too low they'll seek to minimize their investment.
The Impact of Cost Reduction
Controlling costs is generally thought to be the key to ROI. But saving a few thousand dollars here and there isn't enough to justify a significant investment in safety. When I don my CEO cap and review the annual safety training budget, the first thing I look for is the cost, paid wages, loss of production, etc. and that would determine what kind of safety programs I'll approve.
As an experienced CEO, I now look at these projects with a much changed interpretation. Rather that look at what it will cost the company, I want to know: "How will this program reduce all related costs?"
The Impact of Liability
I also have to consider whether the program will reduce our liability risks in the event of an accident or injury. After all, as a responsible employer, I'm under a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure a safe workplace.
The best way to get management's attention is to say: "I'm relieving myself of the responsibility and now it's your liability!" This statement gets management moving faster than telling them that a tornado is coming. It's common for the operator to inform the supervisor of a problem with a piece of equipment and have the supervisor ignore or gloss over the problem. "It's all right," the supervisor will say. We teach the operator to inform the supervisor of the problem and finish up with the above statement. It really works.
When implementing a Quality Management System, Heath & Safety Program and Safety Training Programs ensure that all key executive management/management supervisory personnel are properly trained in all aspects of these programs.
There are no shorts cuts. Buying canned programs, hiring a company to do it or relying too heavily on video programs will usually end up resulting in failure due to the lack of involvement from management/supervisory personnel. What management is essentially saying by failing to get personally involved is: "I'm too busy and already have too much to do."
|Robert Osborn of INL-BEA (middle),
accepts Safety Program of the Year Saxcie™ from
Advisory Board Member Gary Higbee (left)
and SafetyXChange Editor Catherine Jones (right)
Winner for Safety Program of the Year: Idaho National Laboratory
Category: Safety Program of the Year
Criteria: The Safety Program of the Year Saxcie™ is awarded to an organization's health and safety program for excellence in one or more of the following areas: on- and off-the-job safety training, culture and awareness building, use of technology, employee involvement, communication, supervisory leadership, performance measurement, auditing, accident investigation, committee involvement and leadership, rehabilitation and return to work.
The Winner: Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Profile: Located in southeast Idaho, INL conducts research on sustainable energy and homeland security. Because its facilities are spread out over nearly 900 square miles and because of its work with nuclear power, INL has recognized its unique stewardship over the environment, as well as its commitment to the health and safety of its approximately 3,800 scientists, engineers, technicians and support personnel.
The INL health and safety/environmental program is characterized by innovation and infused with a sense of moral and social responsibility. INL program aspects notable for their excellence include:
Community Outreach: INL has received nearly half a dozen awards for its involvement in the health, safety and environmental conservation of the local community. Outreach programs include:
- Hosting a "Farm Safety Day" with children and families in the Snake River Valley;
- Conducting safety and health fairs at local elementary schools;
- Sponsoring an annual Science & Engineering EXPO in which scientific experiments and safety demonstrations are conducted for the local community;
- Carrying out safety demonstrations at local back to school nights; and
- Collaborating with the State of Idaho Advisory Committee on safe routes to school and local traffic safety.
Adoption of Voluntary Standards: ISL sites have achieved ISO 14001 certification and OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) recognition.
In short, INL commitment to local schools, farmers, families and the environment makes it the kind of corporate citizen any community would like to host; and its commitment to the health and safety of workers on and off the job make it the kind of employer any worker would like to work for.
Congratulations to INL for your well deserved Saxcie™ Award!
That's how many traffic accidents are caused by distracted drivers according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Top distractions, according to a survey:
- Adjusting radio station/CD: 82%
- Drinking a beverage: 80%
- Talking on a cell phone: 73%
- Eating a snack: 68%
- Eating a meal: 41%
- Daydreaming: 31%
- Experiencing road rage: 21%
- Smoking: 19%
- Fixing one's hair: 19%
- Talking with one's hands: 19%
- Texting/instant messaging: 19%
- Disciplining/Comforting kids: 14%
- Putting on makeup: 12%
- Using a GPS: 9%
Source: Data on drivers' distractions comes from http://www.nationwide.com/pdf/dwd-2007-survey-results.pdf