Easy OHS

Poor Safety Costing Businesses Millions of Dollars

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Companies lose about 10 per cent of their staff as a result of poor safety, costing billions in lost production and flow-on effects, a leading academic says.

Professor Patrick Hudson, based at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, made the comments at a briefing with journalists in Melbourne.

"I have an estimate that a company may be losing up to 10 per cent of its turnover as a result of poor OHS and E (occupational health, safety and environment) performance, that is usually a whack of money,'' Prof. Hudson said.

Professor Hudson, who specialises in safety for the health, oil, gas, construction and mining industries later told AAP the figure could mean billions of dollars for large miners.

"When you have a shutdown you lose production, and you just add it up,'' Prof Hudson said.

"It is a massive amount of money and most of it goes in relatively small-scale stuff, not necessarily payouts to people who are injured but in the whole way things are run,'' Prof. Hudson said.

"If anyone disagrees with me, that is fine, but when I challenge them to come up with the real figures I find they don't have any,'' he said.

Prof Hudson said that while the companies he dealt with did not put a figure on the worth of a worker, a workplace death was usually estimated to cost a company millions.

"It may be an individual is costed at one, two or four million dollars, depending upon what country you are in,'' he said.

"Really what costs is things like lost production, slowdowns, having regulators all over you, having a lot of lawyers getting very excited,'' he said.

Prof Hudson said Australia had come a long way in improving occupational health and safety.

"The old Australian culture, looking back a long way, was pretty rough,'' he said.

Reported by AAP 10/3/10:  http://www.news.com.au/business/business-smarts/poor-safety-to-blame-for-staff-turnover/story-e6frfm9r-1225839214595

EasyOHS Comment:

Investing in a happy, healthy workplace is a fantastic way to retain staff, foster co-operation and increase productivity.

What are some of the little things you can do as an employer or supervisor?

1)  Ensure amenities are clean, well set up and comfortable

2)  Keep workplace safety systems up to standard and encourage a strong hazard reporting culture

3)  Carry out regular inspections to ensure housekeeping is of a high standard

4)  Reward staff for good safety or good work practices (eg:  provide morning tea, BBQ lunch, golf day)

5)  Be supportive and empathetic where ever possible

6)  Consult with staff regularly on workplace health and safety  issues

7)  Resolve issues in a timely manner - or if they can't be resolved, advise staff of interim actions or a proposed way forward


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