Without a shadow of a doubt, the health and safety team is one of the most critical departments in any organization.
As an EHS leader, you’re already well aware of this – but is your executive team? Do they understand the deep impact safety has on the company’s overall performance? Are you able to secure buy-in from senior management for your initiatives? If you’ve been struggling to prove the ROI of safety, rest assured you’re not alone. In this blog, we’ll talk a bit more about how to overcome common challenges many EHS pros have when it comes to communicating the business value of workplace safety programs.
Challenges with Proving the ROI of Safety
Let’s face it: up until recently, the majority of EHS departments have lacked the tools necessary to put together and present a convincing business case to management to gain support for EHS initiatives. Primarily, this has been the case for two reasons:
– Inability to access, analyze and leverage compelling EHS data
– Inability to speak the language that will resonate with C-level executives
How to Demonstrate the ROI of Safety
Let’s dissect the two challenges we just outlined above a bit further, starting with the data issue. When attempting to demonstrate the ROI of safety, many EHS departments aren’t sure where to begin, because they haven’t been consistently measuring EHS performance, or worse still, they’re not sure which safety metrics they should even be tracking.
Don’t panic, though. This isn’t an insurmountable obstacle to overcome even though it may seem like it right now. You’re already collecting an abundance of data every day – every time a worker completes an inspection, hazard assessment or any other type of safety activity. The bottom line is that it’s time for more EHS leaders to start using their data to their advantage to prove the ROI of safety programs and secure much needed support for future initiatives.
Traditionally, many executives have viewed safety as a cost center, which couldn’t be further from the truth. According to research from ASSE, for every $1 invested in safety, a company saves at least $3 – which is exactly the type of thing your executive team wants to hear. When communicating to management, it’s important to frame your safety performance and initiatives in relation to larger corporate goals, and wherever possible, financial goals.
Let’s say for example that, like many organizations, one of the goals this year is to decrease costs. If you can demonstrate that as employee safety training increases, the amount of lost-time injuries decreases, that can translate into a significant ROI of safety and solid proof that more resources should be allocated to your EHS program.
The cost of just one workplace incident can be staggering. We’re talking tens of thousands of dollars at least – in lost productivity, administrative costs, compliance and more. In 2015 alone, workplace incidents cost the US $142.5 billion, which underscores just how critical it is for more organizations to start investing in health and safety.