The cost of unsafe workplace practices is high: Safe Work Australia’s most recent figures show more than 12 claims for serious injuries per 1,000 workers, at a cost of $60.6 billion annually.
Making safety a priority can bring benefits to your business including fewer injuries, fewer compensation claims, lower insurance costs, reduced downtime, higher productivity and a culture of continuous improvement.
Equipment’s role in workplace safety
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work notes that ‘regular maintenance has an important role in eliminating workplace hazards and providing safer and healthier working conditions.’ (2)
A business with high safety standards will be better able to manage costs and cash flow as there’ll most likely be fewer accidents and their associated disruptions. And well-managed business machinery is not just safer – it tends to be more efficient and cost-effective too.
Better still, new technology often provides opportunities for improving on-the-job safety. For instance, in the transport and logistics industries, GPS can be used to locate drivers, tracks their speed or movements, or monitor driving time to ensure they’re kept within safe limits.
Creating a safe and comfortable working environment
When you apply for equipment finance, banks and other finance providers need to look at your management of costs and cash flow. Among Australian businesses considering new purchases in the April–June quarter of 2015, 84.4% are looking to acquire plant or vehicles. (3) So it’s worth considering the safety and cost benefits that can be achieved.
Newer equipment tends to be more compliant, having been created in line with more recent and improved compliance standards. It’s also a popular option, with 56.8% of businesses intending to buy new equipment and 37.1% citing ‘quality’ as their primary concern, not price. (4)
This reflects the fact that many organisations prefer to pay a higher price to get equipment from an established supplier with a proven track record for reliability and service.
Investing in updated assets is a good way to contribute to your workplace safety culture, which in turn has flow-on effects on worker morale and productivity. As WorkSafe Victoria notes, such a culture “makes good business sense. Not only does it contribute to a positive culture and a workplace surrounded by healthy, happy and focused employees, it also contributes to the bottom line.” (5)
It’s a position that’s not just logical, it’s well understood, with ‘maintenance/parts’ and ‘accidents’ ranking first and second respectively in a list of companies’ concerns about factors impacting their cash flow. (6)
It is also backed by research, with one study comparing the stock market performance of workplace safety award winners to that of non-winners. The conclusion was clear: ‘Companies that build a culture of health by focusing on the well-being and safety of their workforce yield greater value for their investors.’ (7)