The dollars and sense of Safety Training Online
It’s important to understand that every worksite is different and with each new day, changes to a worksite might introduce new hazards. A hazard is simply any situation that involves potential risk to health, property, or environment. To be clear, some worksites include more potential risk than others, but all worksites have their own potential hazards.
This increase in potential hazards has made numerous impacts on organizations throughout the world. One of the major impacts is the elevated concern for the safety of the employees. No longer can an organization push unsafe work onto their employees; no longer can they take for granted that the work is considered ‘high-risk’ and accidents come with the territory. Employers need to consider all areas of their employee’s work environment from regular maintenance of equipment, to the use of new cleaning chemicals.
It may seem counter-intuitive to some people, but a passionate and relentless focus on safety can have a positive effect on cost saving, revenue, employee productivity, and organizational effectiveness. A good example of this was in Alcoa Inc. When Paul O’Neill arrived in 1987 he wanted to make a tangible difference in the organizational results but, he knew the organization was too big to make dramatic change without a reason, so he used SAFETY as his number one priority. No one is willing to publicly argue against the importance of employee safety therefore, this initiative made for an excellent vehicle for effective change.
O’Neill used a single benchmark of “Time lost to employee injuries” as the key criteria to hold everyone accountable to. At the time Alcoa was already better than most US Manufacturers in the world of safety. When O’Neill started with the company, the rate for time lost because of employee injuries was less than one-third of the US average, but when he finished, it was one-twentieth.
This is an impressive record because the organization has over 140,000 employees in 36 different countries which make safety records a daunting task, but the results speak for themselves. In an organization where people are dealing with metal, heated to 2,000 degrees, and moving equipment there are “all the hazards one can imagine.” The safety record for accidents per 100 employees dropped from 1.86 to 0.05 and they are still trying to get it to zero. It makes their organization safer to work at, based on the stats, than an accounting firm.
The question is - Can that be turned into measurable increases for the shareholders? O’Neill feels that is exactly what the end result was. It allowed him to focus on productivity and organizational performance in new ways. When he started the organization recorded profits of $264 million, but when he retired the annual profits exceeded 1.5 billion and a top line revenue increase from $4.6 billion to $22.9 billion. The bottom line is SAFETY PAYS, handsomely.
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Matthew Albertson is author of this article. For more information on hazard assessment training, visit the Canadian Online Safety Training Association (COSTA), an organization that brings together the top safety courses in Canada.
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