There's Profit in Communicating

Frequent focus on safety correlates to lower injury rates, improved bottom lines, our survey indicates.

SAFETY meetings and safety training are profitable investments, not costs, as all of us in this industry understand. You'll be pleased to know that a March 2006 survey of a sample of Occupational Health & Safety readers confirmed the value of both activities and suggested most respondents are using them wisely.

We conducted the survey with The Marlin Company, a North Haven, Conn., company that helps companies boost safety, quality, and teamwork through their employee communications. The survey was e-mailed to 4,948 people and generated a 14 percent response rate (691 respondents). The top three safety problems they reported having were failure to wear personal protective equipment; slips, trips, and falls; and back injuries from lifting. Other key findings from the survey:

  • 47 percent said they have increased the amount of safety training they provide.
  • 55 percent said the injury rate in their workplace has fallen.
  • 57 percent hold monthly safety meetings.
  • 60 percent supplement those safety meetings with newsletters and other publications.
  • 72 percent supplement their safety meetings with postings.
  • 74 percent said they believe their workplace is safer now than it was a year ago.
  • 70 percent reported their worker's compensation premiums had not increased from the previous year.

Among respondents who conduct weekly safety meetings, 67 percent reported their workplace injury rate had declined. However, 57 percent of the companies that conduct monthly safety meetings reported a drop in their injury rates.

Among the respondents who said they were "extremely satisfied" with their company's safety program:

  • 75 percent had increased the amount of training provided to their employees in the past year.
  • 77 percent supplemented safety meetings with postings.
  • 81 percent said worker's comp premiums had not increased.

The survey indicated extra communication improves the bottom line. While 32 percent of the respondents who conduct safety meetings without supplemental publications or postings reported their comp premiums had risen by 10-49 percent, only 18 percent of the respondents who used such supplements saw their premiums rise to the same extent.

This column appeared in the June 2006 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

This article originally appeared in the June 2006 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

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