When the first OSHA standards were published in the early 1970s EH&S training was primarily driven by compliance. Today, there are a number of business factors beyond the need to comply that contribute to your organization’s investment in your EH&S training program. EH&S training is also influenced by a number of variables including organizational goals and values, financial impact, and management support. Understanding what drives your EH&S training program from all angles can help you prepare, plan, and justify the investment in EHS& training within your organization.
First, let’s look at some of the main reasons we do EH&S training in the first place:
Compliance – Since the beginning, we’ve had to comply with OSHA standards. The majority of EH&S training is based on a need to fulfill annual and initial training requirements. Failure to train your workers can result in willful violations that result in fines. And don’t forget that general duty clause…better safe than sorry when it comes to ensuring a safe work environment.
Costs of Incidents – In addition to fines, accidents and incidents have further cost implications for your organization. Incidents typically involve a person, property, product or any combination of the three. How does this add up? When a worker is injured on the job you face the costs of workers compensation claims and lost time. Property, such as equipment, structures, and vehicles, may need to be repaired or replaced. Lastly, you may not be able to sell or distribute product that is destroyed or damaged.
The Right Thing to Do – Bottom line, providing a safe and healthy work environment, including training workers to be aware of hazards and best safety practices to protect themselves, is morally responsible.
The weight that each organization puts on compliance, cost, and the ethics of safety varies. But all three of these factors should be considered when planning your EH&S training and the impact it will have on your organization. So how do you make this relatable to the decision makers in your company?
Now it’s time to talk the talk, get personal, and help relate the business drivers from the EH&S perspective to the areas of your organization to show how a proactive approach to training and preventing incidents impacts each individual.
Financial – Your financial department looks at costs across the business. The financial team may be tasked with discovering the underlying cause of rising costs and to work with the right parties to find a solution. The obvious costs associated with incidents are fines, insurance and workers compensation, however, incidents that involve property and product can also translate into a rise in operational costs and cost of sales.
Operations – Your operations department likes things to move smoothly. Incidents not only have a financial impact for operations (see above), but a logistical impact when productivity suffers due to employee injuries that result in lost time or restricted duty, or equipment that is out of service.
The Organization Overall – A proactive approach to safety is good for business beyond finances and operations. Your marketing and sales team can use your safety record and approach as a sales tool. Your CEO, other executives, and your organization look good when a safety program helps to positively impact the business. A socially responsible company that takes care of its people attracts employees and customers. These are all good things that make management happy.
The benefits of EH&S training are clear to you the safety professional, but sometimes you have to go a step further to help others in the organization understand that safety training impacts their world, and can actually make their job a little easier. When you can make the rewards of safety training relate to the individuals within your organization you can more easily get buy-in and support for your program.
What are the reasons your organization is proactive about safety training? Are there other business drivers in your organization that help to support training initiatives?
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Evolved Safety is putting safety professionals in control of their training programs by working with you to select the best content and delivery system for your work environment. From online to onsite training, we source today’s best-in-class training solutions allowing you design a program that fits your needs.