When Even Good Economic News is Weak, Safety Still Makes the Grade

[tweetmeme]The economy continues to frustrate just about everyone. Even when positive news is reported, such as the recent Kansas City Federal Reserve Board’s survey on manufacturing data which showed an increase in month-over-month production to 19% of companies participating, the news is quickly followed by another story, e.g., Kansas City’s area overall construction activity is down by 45% compared to a year ago. Even the good news is weak only 19% of companies surveyed report something positive. I guess its good news, when you consider this is up from 13% in January and only 9% in December.

With unemployment still hovering around 9% in the area, it makes these reports very hard to take day after day. My suggestion is to stop dissecting the news ‘six ways from Sunday’ and concentrate on making your business the best it can be. To that end, I suggest executive management look very hard at the return on investment for their rapidly shrinking budgets. My guess is; for those executives that take a true unbiased look at the ROI for safety initiatives, they will be pleasantly surprised at the numbers. There are numerous studies and surveys available that demonstrate this point, and these reports have been quoted many times in hundreds of venues, publications, and websites. I won’t bore you with the detail here, but you can find them from Liberty Mutual Insurance, ASSE, NSC, the Hartford, OSHA, etc.

My advice for those safety professionals reading the above headlines and stories; wondering about their own future…be proactive! Take this opportunity to go to your executive team and educate them about the financial benefits of safety. Regulatory compliance won’t move the needle, even with OSHA’s current brand of saber rattling; you need to demonstrate your benefit to the company not only to help yourself, but to help those employees who would otherwise be left without a voice for safety.

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