Wanted: Support for Your Great Safety Idea

Wanted: Support for Your Great Safety Idea

Jill James

Jill James

Chief Safety Officer

Jill James brings an unrivaled perspective on risk, regulation and liability. With 14 years of experience as a Senior OSHA Safety Investigator with the State of Minnesota, and nearly a decade in the private sector as a safety program manager, Jill is a passionate advocate for training ROI.

If you’re in safety, here’s an old cliché you’ll recognize: “Safety starts at the top.”

You’ve heard that before, along with similar statements. You’ve read articles about this top-down safety emphasis—the topic is covered incessantly. And at some point, you’ve likely listened to a consultant or management-type talk all flowery about it.

Yet, you still don’t know what it takes to influence those decision-makers at the top of your organization.

Let’s get a handle on this right now, shall we?

Here’s your assignment: What is your company’s number one injury and how much does that injury cost your organization? 

Where do you get this information?

That person might be you, if you manage workers compensation claims. 

If it’s not, this is who to ask: your workers compensation insurance carrier or third party administrator. 

Part of their job is to provide you with reports. Even if you don’t have access to who gets hurt due to privacy at your company, you can still ask for and get basic injury & illness information, along with claims statistics.  

You may even have a business analyst or accounting department that can provide this information as well. 

Ask the question. Do it now! 

Here is an example of an answer and how you might leverage it to build the support at the top we all seek…

“We have more eye injuries than anything else, in fact, in the past 2 years we’ve had 10 incidents resulting in $5,000 in medical treatment. Our second highest injury was hernias; we had two which cost us $20,000 in medical treatment. And that doesn’t even cover lost-wage benefits we paid-out.”

One conclusion you could make, or one tangible “thing” you can discuss with your manager could be this:

“While we have a high frequency of eye injuries, those incidents aren’t what is costing us the most. We’ve had two injuries which resulted in hernia surgeries for two people with regard to lifting. While eye injuries are terrible, I think we can reduce that cost by enforcing the use of eye protection and training about the use of eye protection, and I could use your support. Would you help me with that? Because the hernia injuries are from lifting, I am proposing we make the following ergonomic improvements to {XXX} job, which I estimate to cost, ${XXX}, yet save {XXX}. Can you support me on making these changes happen?” 

This is how you find data, link it to safety, and bring it to your decision makers, at the most basic level.

For additional help or advice, email me directly at sme@vividlearningsystems.com.