Safety vs Non Safety
As the industry becomes more safety focused, there proves to be a transition from awarding jobs to contractors with the lowest bid to the contractors that hold exceptional safety standards. Companies big and small face many challenges when making the transition from following provincial standard safety guidelines to captivating safety as part of their everyday culture.
Getting buy in from management is numero uno. Management needs to be fully convinced that improving safety training, investing in proper equipment to prevent safety infractions and taking part in the safety movement is beneficial for their organization. In order to do this, there must be ways to measure the profitability of safety vs. non safety.
Investment in safety training (any classroom training, equipment demonstrations, emergency drills) all help reduce the costs of non safety. Non safety costs accrue from accidents, incidents and lawsuits that are the result of unsafe actions while at work. What a company chooses to incorporate in the categories of safety vs. non safety will have a diverse impact across the industry. Some companies will choose to calculate the costs of only safety training courses vs. other companies who may include the cost of courses but also include the labour “lost” from tool box talks, joint health and safety meetings and their safety departments salaries. This cost variance has changed the way companies bid on jobs and uniformly how clients award projects.
As the safety movement progresses, the wave of “cheapest contractor wins the job” is slowly diminishing. Of course, cost is of extreme importance but if the contractor is facing working penalties and legal repercussions then a domino effect starts to hit your projects and your companies success rate starts to diminish. The construction industries biggest battle going forward will be finding the equilibrium between having a strong safety culture and profitable project costs, aka safety vs. non safety.