7 Ways to Save on Safety (Part 3 of 3)
5. Open yourself to new ideas.
The safety industry has evolved tremendously in the past few years. New technology is constantly being introduced to both the construction industry and general industry. Whether it is new products or old products made safer, lighter, or more user-friendly, there are many opportunities out there for you to streamline and save. Present the specifics of your jobsite/facility to a safety consultant and see if there are other products out there that you could be using. It is amazing how often people are using the wrong product for the job, or simply using the right product incorrectly. Using the right product for the job will at least make the job safer and more efficient - which is always less expensive than the alternative.
6. Consider alternative building products.
Think outside the box when planning a project. This may mean outsourcing what you would normally do in-house, or doing in-house what you would normally outsource. Let me supply a couple of examples:
Let's say that you want to build a railing. The "typical" way to build a railing would be to hire a welder/fabrication shop to make one for you. This is true because not every business has a fabrication shop to produce their own, nor does every company have the skilled labor necessary to put it together. One alternative would be to produce a "non-welded, modular railing." Most modular railings will have the same strength of a welded solution, but require none of the skilled labor, permits, planning, time, or tools that a welded rail would need. This often will save you money up front, and it will allow you keep all of the labor expenses in house.
Let's look at the other side of the same coin. On any jobsite (both in the general and construction industry), you have a pretty good chance of spotting a "homemade" fall protection solution. From a piece of rope purchased at the local hardware store that is now tied to someone's harness, rebar that was bent to make an anchor point, to a flag line that looks like it was stolen from a used car dealer. I am sure you have seen (and maybe constructed) a non-engineered safety solution. Not all of them are ridiculous, but they all share one thing in common: you take all of the liability of a workers life on your shoulders. Engineered safety solutions absorb the liability of the hazard for you - as long as they are used properly. This is both safe, and keeps money in your pocket. First of all, insurance companies love them - which means lower premiums. Secondly - OSHA loves them - which means lower (hopefully no) fines. As a bonus, in an effort to protect themselves and you, manufacturers also overbuild most solutions to make certain that no one will be hurt because one failed.
7. Organize your safety department.
Let's face it. The most expensive hazard to a company is an accident. Lost time, lost morale, lawsuits, fines, medical expenses, and potentially someone's life are just a few of the ways that accidents affect your business. Minimize and eliminate hazards by being effective and organized when it comes to safety.
- Do regular training,
- keep up to date log books,
- perform daily reminders (toolbox meetings),
- have regular self-assessments,
- keep gear inspected and clean,
- know the regulations and the products available to you, and
- connect yourself to others in the industry who are doing the same.
These are just a few of the ways that you can begin to create an effective, efficient safety culture that saves lives and money.
Safety, for any company, can become an arduous, necessary evil that gets in the way of what you are really trying to accomplish. Instead, it should be a value and culture in your company that minimizes costs, improves morale, and places a sense of value on the individual that can so easily be forgotten. We want to be most concerned for the lives of those around us as well as our own. These were just a few ways to save money in this economy, but hopefully also a few ways to value the wellbeing of your workers - and see that they are all sent home safely every day.