As discussed in Part 1, a 2001 report from Liberty Mutual shows that there are a lot of executives out there who ?get it? and understand that spending money on safety isn't just a ?nice thing to do for workers? but increases profitability. Now we turn to a second important finding of the report: The fact that even the executives who understand that safety generates a positive return on investment (ROI), don't understand how best to invest safety-related resources. Consequently, they don't get as great an ROI as they should.
What Causes Accidents: The Gap Between Perception and Reality
Liberty Mutual asked business executives what they thought were the leading causes of workplace accidents and compared the responses to an actual ranking of accident causes based on the direct costs to companies in 1998. Result: There's a big gap between perceptions and reality.
For example, executives listed repetitive motion as the most important cause of accidents and said they planned to invest most of their resources in preventing repetitive motion accidents. But repetitive motion was only sixth on the list of actual accident causes of accidents, generating $2.3 billion in direct costs to companies in 1998. By contrast, the actual leading cause of accidents, overexertion, generated $9.8 billion in direct costs. We've listed all of the numbers below to illustrate the disconnect between perception and reality.
What It Means
Getting management to invest more in safety is only half the battle. Safety directors need to be involved in deciding where those dollars go. As the Liberty Mutual report shows, the business executives can't necessarily be relied on to make the most prudent investments in the safety realm. They need your help identifying the company's needs and directing resources to where they'll do the most good.
What Execs Thought Were Leading Accident Causes
|What Execs Thought Were Leading Accident Causes||What Actually Were Leading Accident Causes
|1. Repetitive Motion||1. Overexertion ($9.8 billion)|
|2. Overexertion||2. Falls Same Level ($4.4 billion)|
|3. Highway Accidents||3. Bodily Reaction ($3.6 billion)|
|4. Bodily Reaction||4. Falls to Lower Level ($3.6 billion)|
|5. Falls to Lower Level||5. Struck by Object ($3.4 billion)|
|6. Getting Caught or Compressed in Equipment||6. Repetitive Motion ($2.3 billion)|
|7. Falls Same Level||7. Highway Accident ($2.1 billion)|
|8. Struck by Object||8. Being Struck Against an Object ($1.9 billion)|
|9. Contact with Temperature Extremes||9. Getting Caught or Compressed in Equipment ($1.6 billion)|
|10. Being Struck Against an Object||10. Contact with Temperature Extremes ($.3 billion)|
SOURCE: Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.: Executive Survey of Workplace Safety