OSEA Safety Blog

The Business of Safety

Friday, May 15, 2015 John Coniglio, PhD.

The safety and health profession is one that seems to teeter totter frequently with the height of rise and fall dependent on the business cycle. While many professions feel the same impact due to business cycles, the safety profession seems to be harder hit and has a difficult time explaining the need to business when attempts are made to justify its existence.

After years of operating within the profession, occupying many positions in various business sectors (insurance, heavy steel, chemical process, consulting), it occurred that the problem might really be one which occupies the entire concept of safety -- simply put, the “cost benefit concept.”

If we have not been able to outline the real impact of professional safety efforts as a profession, why should business react positively? There is also always the continuing appearance that we fall back on the age-old adage, “the humanitarian approach is what really counts, that’s what is important when it comes to safety!” While it easy for all of us to say that we constantly care for one another when it pertains to occupational safety, how do we put it into practice? More importantly, how do we justify it from a business concept? It would seem that quantifying the need and result as it applies to the cost benefit of safety really will achieve the end result of our stated humanitarian concern.

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