Mention health and safety and the first thought that jumps to mind is additional costs that need to be absorbed into your overheads, the second is how it complicates and delays production, and the third, how do we get the item off the agenda with as little money and time spent as possible.

A negative perception towards the safety industry has been adopted by some companies, a perception that the same companies have cultivated over the years.

The Companies have created this cycle by appointing safety consultants at cheap rates, or appointed inexperienced safety staff at cheap rates which in turn delivered inadequate products/services (Reverting back to the age old saying of “you get what you paid for”). The result of the aforementioned product/services, are procedures that are either difficult or nearly impossible to implement and uphold, ultimately leading to default compliance.

To add to an already bad situation the procurement manager is given a list of items that needs to be procured for safety, generally followed with the words, “look for the cheapest derivative”. At first glance it seems that you’ve ticked off safety. However soon you realize the opposite.

Injuries become more frequent starting with first aid cases and building its way up to more serious injuries. You receive bad safety audit result, or erratic safety audit results. Equipment failure becomes a regular occurrence. Your personal equipment protective equipment expenditure increases, and you get noncompliance reports on your employee’s unsafe acts, which only add to the frustration. The safety officer of the client must be out to make your life difficult right?

All of this relates to one thing. A stop in production! This aggregates to wasted expenditure. Additional cost is incurred in every of the aforementioned items. All because, Safety was not managed.

Personal Protective equipment is not managed; the employee’s responsibility towards personal protective equipment is not managed, the safety management system is not managed, the employee that is appointed to manage safety is not managed, the procedure set out is not implemented nor managed. The employees act out of ignorance towards safety and the employer acts out of ignorance towards their employees. All of which is because companies perceive safety as just another tax to do business, something that you throw money at, forget about, and continue doing business.

Imagine any other main function of business handled with the same care and its implications.

If you as the employer adopt the right attitude towards safety in your company you will create a culture that respects safety in the workplace, you will find that cost will reduce as you manage it.

Injuries will drop, as employees are made aware of safe work procedures. Safety audit results won’t leave you with additional cost, to cover inadequacies. Personal protective equipment will last longer as employees take ownership of it and understand its reasons for use.

Safety needs to be managed, to manage its cost.