When it comes to workplace safety, nothing is more important than your employee’s well-being. Safety doesn’t come cheap, but there’s a right way to make savings and a wrong way. The latter is normally condemned as “cutting corners” and all responsible business owners need to make sure their safety plan doesn’t fall victim to this scenario.
And yet, safety infrastructure needs to be bought, and as with almost anything on the market, there will always be several suppliers competing for your dollar. Furthermore, not all will provide the optimal safety solution for your workplace. It would be foolish therefore not to shop around.
You also need to be clear about what you need. Government regulations are always worth following and should give you an idea about what is required to meet the appropriate standards. You would be surprised, however, how much the price of meeting those standards can vary depending on your approach to kitting out your workplace with the necessary safety infrastructure.
Workplace safety requirements can also vary massively depending on what kind of business you run. An office comes with its own set of requirements, quite different from a construction site or a factory.
In short, you need to economise without cutting corners; you need to create a functional and robust culture of safety while focussing on the bottom line.
There follows a list of some of the best ways to do so, helping you make savings and how to spend when you need to sensibly.
1. Keep an Eye on the Lifetime Cost of your Safety Solution
There are all sorts of equipment that might have to be bought to meet safety regulations. This could be anything from signage to complex machinery that needs to be installed and maintained. The lifetime cost of such equipment refers to the amount of money that will be needed both to use the product (which may be costs involved in installation and training your employees to use it) but also the cost of maintaining such equipment over the length of time it is expected to be in use.
To take the example of the signage, this would be one item of safety equipment that will probably have a very low lifetime cost. The only cost involved here would perhaps be purchasing new signage to keep up with safety regulations as these potentially change in the future.
More complex items of machinery, on the other hand, may require regular maintenance, which is something which should be factored in beyond the cost of buying the safety product. Fire alarms, for example, may require regular checks to ensure they are in working order. They may also require drills, in which case the productivity of your employees would be temporarily suspended (though not, of course, for very long).
Nevertheless, there are costs involved in safety beyond simply buying the product, so you should factor these into your budget beforehand.
2. Consider Safety Training and Drills
Proper workplace safety is not just a question of buying and installing the correct safety equipment. There is also the matter of whether employees know how to use it (if it is to be used by them) and also, in the case of alarms, how to behave when one is set off.
The classic case here is that of fire alarms and fire drills, which are necessary to ensure everybody knows what to do in the event of an alarm. Before the installation of such a product, you will need to ensure your employees are trained in how to respond to it.
And the same is true of workplace equipment – such as fire extinguishers – which employees may find themselves having to use in an emergency situation. Do they know how to do so? Have they completed this necessary workplace training?
It may well seem there could be an almost endless list of training sessions that an employee has to take in order to be acquainted with their role in a company’s safety infrastructure. This can easily rack up costs. However, a common solution here is to make safety training an item of workplace initiation. In the majority of workplace situations, training for new employees is already an expense. Why not factor in safety training to the new training sessions rather than do it separately? There could be a big saving to be made here without any compromise on the safety of your employees.
3. Do Not Compromise on Safety (even if legal requirements are technically met)
It might be natural to assume that installing a safety infrastructure and promoting a safety culture that makes the grade is a question of meeting the requirements and doing so with costs in mind. Nevertheless, going a little above and beyond what might seem strictly necessary (and even spending a little extra) could well make for savings in the long run. Yes, really.
It has been shown that by promoting a healthy safety culture and installing a strong safety infrastructure, there are several other potential safety costs (usually involving accidents, injury, time off, and compensation) that are slashed as a result.
By reducing injury at your workplace, your business could see a decrease in worker’s insurance premiums and a reduction in administrative expenses and resources associated with filing injury and illness reports. You will also find that there are fewer resources spent on training new employees to replace injured ones who are missing work.
4. Invest in Easy-to-Use Safety Equipment (and keep it within reach)
Showing preferential purchasing for equipment that is easy to use affords your workplace several savings right away. For one thing, if a system is simple to use, the training resources necessary to teach employees how to use it are minimal. Everyone can, with only the smallest amount of expertise, know how to operate a fire extinguisher. It might therefore be prudent to base a fire safety infrastructure around easily accessible extinguishers in easy-to-reach locations. There are many new models available, which are increasingly user friendly and lightweight. You can read more about it here.
5. Have an Integrated Fire Safety Infrastructure
While we are on the topic of fire safety, it is worth pointing out this particular safety expense is one that is common to nearly every place of work. It also happens to be one of the most important and one to which the most stringent safety requirements are applied. If there is one area of safety that should be prioritised, it is this one.
Yet savings could still be made with a fire safety infrastructure that does not simply meet the requirements, but which also integrates all of its elements into one cohesive whole. For example, signage and fire exits closest to the areas most at risk are a sure way to prevent disaster. Prioritising better grade technology too, in these areas, will allow you to save on it elsewhere. Coordination with fire services in the event of a fire could also limit damage (and therefore costs) massively. To do this, invest in readily available floor plans and information about layouts that can be easily accessed.
As you can see, there are quite a few ways you could potentially save on the cost of business safety. Trying to implement as many as possible will only benefit you and your business in the long run.