Safety should never be an afterthought. Employees and managers are not able to achieve a safe work site if safety isn’t prioritized. If the budget — and, indeed, the entirety of the project — hasn’t been planned around safety, it’s unlikely that the right preparations have been made. When building a budget for a project, safety has to be considered from the start.
How to Build a Safety Budget
When building a safety budget, there are a few things to consider:
- What equipment and PPE will be necessary? Employees can’t use the right equipment if it isn’t available. If equipment has aged and is no longer safe, it has to be replaced.
- Is the current project, and its deadlines, safe? Consider that safety may take more time, which is also something that has to factor into both budgets and deadlines.
- Do employees need more man hours for safety? You may need to hire additional safety officers, or give employees individual time for safety: That factors into salary calculations.
- When do inspections need to be completed? It may be safe enough to have inspections during required times, or you may find that the work site is hazardous enough that it demands additional inspection.
Every project is unique, and its safety concerns are unique, too. But considering the equipment and the processes first can give you a solid starting point. Safety isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and it’s something that organizations will need to explore and improve upon over time. Learning to think about a project not just in terms of getting it completed, but also in terms of keeping it safe, can help.
What If Safety is Too Expensive?
Many businesses find themselves cutting corners on safety because they think that safety is too expensive. They may not think that they can bid on jobs with safety in mind, because they are going to get outbid. The truth is: Safety is as expensive as it has to be. Safety isn’t optional. It’s a necessary expense.
Furthermore, safety has a higher ROI than many organizations may think. A single incident or accident could cause a company millions, not only in equipment fees and medical costs, but also in stopped work and damaged reputation. Over time, a reputation for safety improves all levels of an organization, ranging from client trust to employee satisfaction.
Businesses will gradually get better at improving safety. They will have better processes, technology, and equipment. But even at the beginning, safety pays for itself.
What Are the Benefits of Budgeting for Safety?
Budgeting for safety is in an organization’s best interests. There are a number of benefits:
- Employees are safer and happier. Employees know when they are being valued by the organization, and they will work harder for an organization that values their safety.
- The budget is more likely to be realistic. Ultimately, the business is going to need to make expenditures for safety. If these expenses aren’t contained within the budget, the project could run over.
- The budget is less likely to be hit by a single, large expense. If a safety incident occurs, the effects of it will be dramatic. The more the organization invests in safety, the less likely this is.
- The project is less likely to be delayed. When safety incidents happen, projects have to be delayed. Equipment may need to be fixed, and employees may not be available.
Budgeting for safety isn’t something that “just happens”; it’s a conscientious effort. The organization has to manage upfront costs vs. long-term gains, and consider its ROI. While budgeting for safety means that the business will need to spend more upfront, it also means the business is taking on far less risk.
The Role of Safety Management Software
By investing in safety software, organizations are able to reduce their risk in exchange for a low, static cost. Safety solutions are able to collect real-time, valuable information that can help the organization make on-going safety improvements, and can automate processes to make work more efficient. It’s another example of an upfront cost that leads to long-term benefits.
Organizations today need to put safety at the forefront of their concerns, and that starts with budget. With safety software that is purpose-built to manage risk by collecting real-time actionable data, organizations are able to improve upon their safety management and employee engagement, ultimately reducing their risk and improving their ROI.