Why we need to change how we measure workplace safety September 5th, 2017, by Ken Buckley

How to measure the ROI of your workplace safety program

Interview with Lou Servizio, Founder and Executive Director Wellcast ROI

As National Safe Work Month approaches, it’s time to focus on the value of our safety initiatives.

At first glance, it’s obvious: the value is that we keep employees safe. But is it really that obvious? Do you have the stats and data insights to prove just how effective your safety programs are? Do you know how many dollars you save your business each year, through your safety program?

We talk to the Executive Director of Wellcast ROI, to learn better ways to prove the ROI of your WHS  initiatives.

 

ED of Wellcast ROI, Lou Servizio (L) with CEO of Healthworks, Ken Buckley (R)

Q:  Why do I need to measure safety beyond LTIs or absenteeism?

A: Measuring absenteeism is important. However simply measuring the number of days absent is not sufficient. You need to convert the days absent into a COST to the company.

To do this, you need to know the productivity loss per day for each employee, which varies by occupation, industry and Australian state.  Our company, Wellcast Australia, gives you a way to do this.

It’s also important to analyse the types of injuries, so you can understand the human and financial cost of different injuries. A lumbar injury, for example, will generate far more days of absenteeism than a sore elbow.  By knowing this you can focus your safety measures on preventing the most costly injuries (in terms of suffering and cost of absenteeism).  

Q. What kinds of measurements/ data should I be tracking?

A. As an HR or WHS professional, you’re well aware of the personal cost of injuries; the pain and suffering to the employee and their families.

Yet few businesses are good at measuring the financial cost to the company. Even fewer measure the returns on the cost of their safety program.

If you want to be savvy about your safety program, and prove your Return On Investment (ROI), you need to measure:

  1. Productivity losses: apply a database of productivity losses by occupation, industry and region to convert the number of days of absence into productivity losses.
  2. Replacement costs: consider the cost of replacing the absent employee including recruitment and training. Have a way to weigh this up against the increased productivity created by the replacement.
  3. Cost of each claim: do you track how much a claim costs your business? Also in terms of time and resources?
  4. The cost of the investment in safety measures. These can be capital equipment investments or ergonomics programs, for example.
  5. The effectiveness of each safety measure reducing each of the above mentioned costs. Do you know which safety initiatives were most effective?
  6. Finally, calculating the Internal Rate of Return by dividing the cost savings by the cost of investment.

Q. How does knowing this data help me keep my employees safe?

A. By measuring – and proving – the ROI of your safety program, you can create a convincing Business Case for even more investment in safety.

When decision-makers can see that your safety initiatives reduce costs and increase productivity, you’ll find it easier to ask for more budget. More money leads to even better safety programs, which leads to a safer workplace and safer employees.

This is particularly effective when you can measure productivity properly. Oftentimes salaries are confused with productivity.  Depending on the industry, productivity can be several magnitudes higher than salaries.  Therefore, if the cost of lost productivity is calculated rather than salaries, then it makes more financial sense to invest in safety because the cost of lost productivity exceeds the cost of safety investments.

Using tools like Wellcast ROI  will go a long way in gaining approval of safety programs.

 

 

Healthworks is partnering with Wellcast ROI to give our clients more effective ways to measure and prove the ROI of their health programs.

To learn more, email ask@healthworks.com.au

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