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I recently spoke at a safety conference about Safety Return on Investment (ROI). The topic was about gaining support, from your company CEO, for your safety incentive and recognition programs. I was truly amazed at the number of people who approached me after my presentation. I think I hit a nerve here!

Seems many of these safety managers were hungry to improve their ability to get budget-share for their safety programs but they were not having luck, especially in this economy, with getting that away from sales, marketing and other department budgets. I shared some strategies I have used to integrate safety into other department programs and also made some safety calculators available to clearly demonstrate how ROI can be obtained.

Is this an isolated situation or should I be getting this message out there? Are your CEO's just giving lip service to safety but not backing that up with budget dollars?

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My experience has been that the majority of senior leadership fully understands that it is not merely a coincidence that the safest companies are also the more profitable companies. They understand the link and are usually willing to spend what it takes. The onus lies with the person or group requesting the funds. Make sure you demonstrate the need and the benefit in a simple, but clear manner.

The snag is with the implementation,where you cannot simply spend yourself safe. Middle management and first line supervision, the lower tier "leaders", often place production in front of protection because of some self-imposed pressure to turn out more widgets faster than the last guy did. They can have trouble seeing past their slice of the pie. If their project comes in on schedule and under budget they consider themselves successful. I have converted many, but I meet a new challenge every day.

Safety Matt
Hey Matt:

I hear that (got to produce more than the other guy) all the time! I even had a CEO tell me that production comes first and if they can be safe while getting more out the door, that's a bonus for us. Sad but true. Good news is, after just a few sessions and follow up with this CEO, I was able to show him what his real exposure and investment risk was. Today, they have a safety program in place that works alongside a production program. The employees earn incentive points for being more productive and being safe.


You have had your share of natural disasters for sure, I feel for you! You are so right about education, I do that as a rule for my clients and prospects. When I show them the "true" value, in terms they want to see (show me the money), they are amazed at how small the risk can be and how large the returns are! Several years ago I developed easy to use Safety ROI calculators. I found that when I can have these, which are simply plug in numbers and see the results, available for these clients and prospects to use, they drop the fear factor that comes with trying to put a financial result together. I have that (finance) background, so if and when a CFO gets involved, I am happy to be on hand to demonstrate this as well. That gets real buy in!

I hope the storms stay away and give you a chance to rebuild. I love that part of our country!



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