The connection between safety and productivity in the workplace is a little more complex than it may appear. Many business owners mistakenly assume that spending more time and money on safety measures will inevitably lead to a loss of productivity, but this is not necessarily the case, as we discuss in this article. Read on to find out exactly what impact new workplace safety policies are likely to have on productivity and how you can maximise the chances of a positive outcome for both safety and productivity in your organisation.
How Workplace Safety May Affect Productivity
A poorly implemented workplace safety policy could well result in a drop in productivity. Any safety measures that are not properly tested before implementation also have the potential to negatively impact productivity. However, safety measures that are well thought out, well tested and properly implemented are most likely to have a largely positive impact on productivity. There are a number of specific ways in which new workplace safety measures can positively impact productivity:
- Fewer Accidents – By implementing a comprehensive set of effective safety measures, you should be able to reduce the number of accidents that occur in your workplace annually. Every year, companies across Australia lose thousands of hours to accidents in the workplace, hours that could have been spent more profitably on productive activities. Whether you implement new measures with the help of work safety consultants in Perth, such as ourselves, or rely on in-house personnel to manage the implementation phase, you should be able to look forward to significantly fewer accidents and a corresponding increase in productivity in future years.
The main aim of any workplace safety programme is, of course, to safeguard the health and well-being of employees. However, with a professionally managed programme, you can achieve both safety and productivity improvements that represent a very attractive return on the time, money and effort that will need to be put in by your organisation and its workforce. If you have previously tried to implement such a programme and failed to see any benefits in terms of greater productivity, please don’t hesitate to consult with one of our experts. We can also almost certainly help you to introduce a new programme that offers multiple benefits to your organisation.
- Less Downtime for Machinery and IT Systems – A comprehensive workplace safety programme should include standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the maintenance and servicing of all production machinery and corporate IT systems. The successful implementation of detailed SOPs for all common maintenance tasks usually results in an improvement in the quality of care that each machine and IT component receives. This improvement in care almost always leads to an increase in the efficiency and reliability of the equipment in question. What kind of impact this has on productivity will depend to a great extent on the type of business in which your organisation is involved and whether or not it relies on production machinery and advanced IT systems to support its daily business activities.
The greater your organisation’s reliance on production and IT equipment, the greater the impact that will be felt on productivity when new maintenance and servicing protocols are introduced. If, for example, you currently experience regular breakdowns that bring assembly lines to a halt for hours at a time, any improvement in maintenance procedures for production machinery is sure to have a noticeable effect. You may be able to estimate the potential for productivity improvements in this area by using industry-specific data and modelling software.
- More Focused Workforce – When trying to answer the question, “Does safety create a productive and safe work environment?”, many managers make the mistake of only considering the extra time it takes to follow SOPs that are designed to create a safer working environment for all employees. What they fail to consider is how a uniform approach to daily tasks can actually increase productivity on its own, before we even start to consider the beneficial effects mentioned above. Furthermore, highly trained employees are usually more engaged in the work they perform, which means they make fewer mistakes and can complete routine tasks faster than would normally be the case.
The degree to which your organisation is likely to benefit from a more focused and engaged workforce will depend on how you approach the implementation of your new safety measures. An inclusive approach, which makes everybody feel like they have a real contribution to make, is normally the most effective way to approach a new safety programme in the workplace.
- Greater Cooperation – More focused and engaged employees tend to perform at a higher level than would otherwise be the case when working alone on a variety of different tasks. However, this is not the only way in which more involved employees can contribute directly to productivity improvements. You will almost certainly find that your employees are able to cooperate with each other more easily and work as members of a team more effectively once they feel more involved in the day-to-day running of the business. This can have a large, positive impact on productivity, both in the short and long term.
The ideal environment you should be aiming to create is a workplace in which everybody is pulling together to achieve the most important corporate goals that your organisation has set for itself. These goals do not have to be limited to safety and productivity, of course, you may set important environmental and social goals too. But whatever goals your organisation pursues, achieving them will be much easier with a workforce that is truly operating as a single, highly effective unit. Greater cooperation is responsible for many of the benefits observed when studying the connection between safety and productivity in the workplace.
- Improved Longevity of Production Equipment – The above-mentioned factors that positively impact productivity are predicated mainly on the positive effect that saving time has on productivity. By becoming more involved, effective and efficient, employees can complete common tasks faster, more safely and consistently. However, there are positive benefits that have a direct impact on running costs too. By following standard maintenance procedures for all production machinery, you can extend the useful lifespan of some of the most expensive capital equipment that your organisation has invested in.
Workplace safety measures inevitably include SOPs for various machinery maintenance tasks. These SOPs are written to make the production environment safer by ensuring that all machinery is operating as intended and is well looked after. It is merely a coincidence, albeit a very welcome one, that machinery maintained in such a manner will normally have a longer useful lifespan. SOPs for equipment maintenance tasks can have a positive effect on productivity in all areas of a business but the effect is most noticeable in production facilities.
Efficient implementation of robust safety measures by your organisation can be expected to deliver all of the above-mentioned benefits and many more.
Taking Advantage of the Connection Between Safety and Productivity
If you would like to harness the twin benefits that a comprehensive workplace safety programme has to offer, you can do so most easily by partnering with a team of experienced work safety consultants such as ourselves. We provide a full range of workplace safety services in Perth and the surrounding areas to companies in many different industries and sectors.
If you would like to learn more about the potential benefits a new safety programme has to offer, we invite you to contact us by phone or email. One of our safety experts will be more than happy to tell you all about the benefits your organisation could enjoy and provide you with full details of the services that we offer.