Along with customer service, production, sales, and product quality, safety is another core value of every enterprise. That’s most effective only when safety and health are balanced and incorporated into a company’s core business processes. However, many companies still see integrating safety as a kind of “necessary evil”—something that they’re obligated to do because of the law. In reality, health and safety are essential to a company’s daily operations, so that’s the wrong way of looking at things.
Managing Outcomes or Risks?
If you have implemented a safety program into your operations, is it managing outcomes or risks? Experts are advising business owners to take a different approach when managing their OSH (Occupational Safety and Health) programs. Solid safety programs and strong businesses must be correlated, which is why no safety professional should treat workplace safety as something independent. To facilitate a safety solution that’s good for business, companies should align their OSH programs with their company’s mission.
Risk comes as a result of failures in a company’s decision-making, processes, systems, and culture. If risks are not identified and managed, there may be various negative outcomes in your finances, customer satisfaction, employee retention, quality, and safety. Damages to the core of the business must be prevented, but first, they need to be identified by analyzing the symptoms of the safety area.
How to Integrate OSH into Business Operations
There are several critical steps safety professionals can take to integrate OSH into business operations.
- Start managing risk instead of managing outcomes.
- Identify operations where different risks intersect.
- Appreciate a broader spectrum of risk.
- Focus on the value of process improvement to the business.
- Increase the value of your safety program to the business.
- Keep things as simple as possible.
What are processes and operations? They are the way that decisions are made or activities carried out, with a specific purpose in mind. An operation typically involves a series of activities and steps and can be informal or formal. Operations are the link of all safety and business risks, so finding the operations and processes where risks intersect and focusing on the business value of operation improvement are the most critical focus points.
Therefore, safety professionals should focus their efforts on process improvement to make a true impact on their business’ core processes.
Companies Should Evaluate Their Processes
Do your company’s processes need improvement or deliver the risk level you need? To find that out, you should determine whether each operation:
- — Has its performance expectations clearly defined;
- — Aligns with its performance expectations;
- — Is the best fit for the company’s environment and culture;
- — Has defined customers and ownership;
- — Has user buy-in as part of its approach;
- — Is repeatable, reliable, durable, measurable, and predictable;
- — Is inspectable/auditable.
If an operation doesn’t meet any of these criteria, companies and their safety professionals should concentrate on finding production improvements and business-driven solutions with safety being a byproduct.
Business processes need to be assessed, refined, and improved for a safety program to move from managing outcomes to managing risks.
Many companies still tend to measure outcomes, which is the worst measure for rating safety because that type of program equates to injuries. No business should rate its safety program based on the number of accidents or injuries it has had. If you want to prevent and avoid injuries, your safety professionals should first identify problems to be able to understand, fix, and prevent them.