For far too long, safety and production have been considered by many as two extremes on the same continuum—two incompatible objectives locked in a tug of war for the organisation’s resources. So, it’s not surprising that safety training is commonly perceived as a significant outlay that has little utility above the prevention of costs associated with workplace injuries. Thinking about safety as a cost threatens to derail any attempt to achieve the pinnacle of safety performance—safety citizenship. Safety should instead be considered an asset. Safety is something that, if done well, protects the organisation and its employees from adverse events (both financial and personal) and even carries over into productivity and performance.
Many safety initiatives, while deemed cost-effective, are ultimately less effective over the long-term because they do not deal with the core issue—the attitudes and behaviour of people. Interventions tend to focus on environment and practices-related issues, such as upgrading equipment, introducing new safety systems or automating risky tasks. Although these initiatives can be clearly linked to financial returns (such as increased volume or speed of work), the underlying element of risk—the person—is not considered and so remains within the system. Organisations seeking to make tangible gains in safety performance must look towards psychology-based safety training that is designed and delivered with this critical human element in mind.
- The Direct and Indirect Costs of Mismanaged Safety
- Safety as a Cost vs Safety as an Investment
- Safety Citizenship Training Programs
- Safety Leadership Training Programs
- Safety Coaching Programs
First published 2014. Last updated 2018.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2014). Work-related injuries, Australia, 2013-14, 6324.0.
Sentis specialises in safety culture measurement and transformation. Experts in applied psychology and neuroscience, Sentis helps organisations to enhance and move beyond compliance to empower employees to work safely—not because they have to, but because they want to. Offering assessments, training, coaching and consulting, Sentis has helped more than 300 companies and 150,000 people think differently about safety since 2003.