How Data Can Promote Safety in the Workplace

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How Data Can Promote Safety in the Workplace

By Catherine Metcalf

Safety is a key factor to the success of every business. In addition to the value of a workplace that employees consider safe and secure, there are significant, measurable benefits you can see from prioritizing safety in your work environment. An average of roughly 3.5 percent of full-time employees is injured each year, showing that there’s room for improvement.

When employees are injured, it can take away from the productivity, reliability, and profitability of your company. As one worker’s compensation attorney in Philadelphia explains, companies can be required to provide compensation to injured employees for up to 500 weeks. Additionally, if employees feel as though your company does not take their safety seriously, it can have a major impact on both your reputation and the willingness of employees to help you meet deadlines.

Beyond simple increases in employee engagement and its own intrinsic value, safety is important because of its relevance to regulatory bodies like OSHA. Businesses that fail to prioritize safety risk incurring penalties and fines, making safety one of the most important focuses for businesses, regardless of company size, industry, or other factors.

The Impact of Workplace Safety

There is a wide range of literature available on the subject of safety in the workplace. There’s a widespread consensus that safety has a significant effect on other aspects of a business. A recent study found 333% returns on a “same company index,” clearly demonstrating how well safe businesses performed.

While this doesn’t necessarily suggest that safety is the most important factor in profitability, it does have a substantial impact. More plausibly, a positive corporate culture that puts workers first is likely to translate into safety as well as other benefits. This can lead to a generally more successful company.

Making Decisions with Data

The most successful businesses know how to utilize data in their decision-making process. Since data is an objective measurement, it provides an unbiased point of reference to use when making important choices. However, you first need to understand when, and how, data should be employed.

Identifying Data to Track

The first step is making sure that your data is focused on the right information. In the context of workplace safety, this means that you should be recording everything relevant to that issue. You should track incidents, of course, but also behaviors and other observations. Keeping extensive records will give you the information you need to make informed decisions.

Focusing on Communication

Once you’ve collected the relevant information, you need to get it in front of the right people. Automated workflows streamline this process and make it easy to access the data when it’s needed. Employees spend up to 40% of their time looking for data, showing the benefits automated workflows can bring.

Critically Examining Data

After you’ve amassed a sufficiently large set of data, you can start studying it more closely to determine what can be improved. While you can do this in-house, there are also many tools available for this process. Using your data to find ways to improve your business is the end goal. While it may take some time to get to this point, you’ll likely see an incredibly high ROI once you do.

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