OHS directors are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to competing with other parts of the company for money to support their programs. While safety is vitally necessary to every company, as a management function it’s commonly perceived as a cost center that doesn’t generate revenue and profits the way other parts of the business do. So, it’s hard to build a business case for investing in safety.
But this shouldn’t be overstated. The fact is that companies do spend substantial amounts of money on safety. In fact, many companies are spending more than ever on safety. What got into the heads of the CEOs and CFOs of these companies? Knowing what motivated them to open their wallets may help you press the right buttons with your C-Suiters.
Luckily, there are surveys showing what prompts management of companies to make a serious financial commitment to safety. According to one survey, the Top 10 motives are, in order
- To cut workers’ comp costs (59%);
- The feeling that investing in safety is the “right thing to do” (51%);
- To increase profits (33%);
- To comply with safety rules (31%);
- The feeling that the company has had “too many incidents” (29%);
- To maintain or improve workers’ morale (26%);
- To maintain or improve productivity (23%);
- To avoid OHS fines (20%);
- Responding to the recommendations of outside experts (13%); and
- To address workers’ concerns (5%).
SOURCE: Survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, Motivating Safety in the Workplace