Special Topics in Safety Management

Tips for Linking Safety Performance to Business Value

Are the benefits of your safety program functions and performance undervalued because of communication barriers? Are you effectively measuring the performance of your program—and communicating that performance to managers in language they can understand? Keep reading for tips on how to use the tools of business managers and the format and language of the organization’s financial analysts to demonstrate your return on safety investment (ROI).

The value of safety to an organization’s overall performance is often much greater than expressed in annual reports, and it may be hidden or intangible. Here’s how you can turn that around.

The Cost of Safety

From the business management perspective safety functions are often viewed as a cost (as opposed to an investment or benefit). For example, management may view the following as costs:

  • Recordkeeping, such as OSHA logs, training schedules and records, permits, remediation, and regulatory compliance records, which cost staff time and administrative supplies;
  • Safety compliance, which costs staff time, equipment downtime, and production delays;
  • Safety committee administration, which costs staff time;


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  • Studies, audits, and reports, which costs staff time and consultant fees; and  
  • Training, which costs staff time, consultant fees, production delays (employee downtime), and equipment purchase.

Safety and Core Business Values

Safety professionals need to consciously identify the links between specific safety functions and core business values, such as:

  • Profitability
  • Reputation/Image/Brand
  • Market Share
  • Time to Market
  • Shareholder Value
  • Cost Containment
  • Productivity
  • Customer Service
  • Compliance Risk


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So, for example, you can identify the links between:

  • Recordkeeping and productivity, compliance risk and cost containment;
  • Safety compliance and profitability, productivity, compliance risk, reputation, cost containment, time to market, and shareholder value;
  • Safety committee administration and productivity, compliance risk, and cost containment;
  • Studies, audits, and reports and profit, compliance risk, reputation, cost containment, and shareholder value; and
  • Training and profit, productivity, compliance risk, cost containment, time to market, and shareholder value.

Once you have made the connections between safety and your organization’s business values, and determined what measures of safety performance to use in the business value context, you can display the results in a business format and present your case to the organization’s decision makers.

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