Thought Leadership


Safety, but at what cost?

September 24, 2009
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I’ve worked in consulting and I’ve worked in manufacturing and I like both equally. In consulting you are only valuable to your company if you are billable and are bringing in business.

In manufacturing you are “safe” if your boss likes you and you are able to keep your OSHA log empty and your experience modifier low.

With the down turn in the economy, I got let go because I was not billable. So I did what any other enterprising American does – I started my own company.

Any company would be honored for me to help them improve their EHS program, wouldn’t they? But at what cost?

That’s where we, the industrial establishment, have a problem. We want to have a safe workplace for our employees. In fact the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s General Duty clause requires it (Section 5(a)(1)).

But, as one friend told me, “My plant manager cannot justify soft dollars. So I can’t get any money for my safety program.” Soft dollars is the money you spend to prevent an incident from occurring.

If you hire me as your consultant and I give this training program and your employee doesn’t get hurt, how much did I save you?

How do you develop justification for spending soft dollars? Submit your comments because by developing justification we will all benefit.
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