Don't cut safety along with budget reduction
Feb 9, 2009 9:41 AM
With companies taking a hard look at their budgets due to current economical situations, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASAE) is reminding them to keep safety processes as the top priority.
"Workplace safety processes must be in place at all times," said Warren K Brown, ASAE president said. "They are even more critical during business downturns. If companies believe they will save money by reducing or ignoring safety for their workers, customers, and communities they do business in, they are mistaken.
"The ongoing positive results are in and have been for companies that have a strong safety culture and continually invest in and implement effective safety processes. Not only does their bottom line benefit positively, but their company reputation stays intact, employees stay safe and healthy reducing health care, workers comp, training and turnover costs--not to mention keeping customers, the communities they do business in, vendors, and employees happy. Safety is good business."
Laura Comstock, president-elect of the ASSE South Carolina chapter, pointed out that some safety-related purchases and testing can be deferred, but some are essential, such as hardhats, safety glasses, and respirators.
"It is especially important for companies to show support for their employee safety during challenging economic times," Comstock said. “Employee morale may be low and employees may be carrying additional workloads, such as working additional hours or doing unfamiliar tasks due to cutbacks.'
She also noted that financial reductions in safety processes could have enormous costs that could result from injury and health care costs, fines, lost production time, or worst of all, employee injury or death.
Employees also can take measures to help companies save money by following safe working procedures and practices to prevent injuries that result in downtime and fines; by properly using, cleaning, and caring for protective equipment such as hardhats and respirators; reusing gloves whenever possible for as long as possible; and by keeping track of safety glasses and reusable hearing protection.
Comstock also reminds employers: "When considering training reductions, some safety-related training is driven by regulation, is time sensitive, and cannot be delayed. Safety training-related savings can be generated by streamlining and implementing simple solutions, including using online or electronic safety training services, rather than face-to-face classroom safety training."
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