Safety First… No, Really

By: Lorna Donatone
Nov 2, 2016 2:35 PM ET

We all know the sayings: “Safety first”, “better safe than sorry”, “safety begins with you.” These phrases are everywhere, on posters, in emails—so ubiquitous, in fact, that we start to tune them out.  We know that safety is important, but it’s easy to take it for granted.

Taking safety for granted, however, is the last thing we want to do. There’s nothing more important than our wellbeing, of course. But did you know that companies that invest in safety actually save money?

According to the National Safety Council, nearly nine million people suffer from workplace injuries and illnesses each year in the U.S.—approximately six percent of all U.S. employees. If a company can prevent just one workplace injury, however, it can save an estimated $37,000. Additionally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that companies can reduce injuries by 15-35 percent by instituting injury and illness prevention programs.

Let’s do that math. If all U.S. employers instituted an injury prevention program, 9,000,000 injuries would fall (for example) 25 percent, to 6,750,000. Since each of those 2,250,000 injuries costs $37,000 each, U.S. companies in total would save $83,250,000.

Numbers aside, safety clearly has a positive impact on a company’s bottom line, and a substantial one at that. But as always, workers’ health is far more important than any financial figure.

That’s why Sodexo launched a global Have A Safe Daycampaign last spring to drive safety culture and change behaviors, and it’s why we’ve celebrated Zero October, and asked all employees to make a personal commitment to their safety and the safety of those around them, whether at work, at home or in between.

The best news, though, is that it’s been working. Last year, over 6,000 Sodexo locations in the U.S. were accident-free, but we’re not stopping there. To achieve world-class safety performance in the future, the key is training teams to be proactive and prevent at-risk behaviors and hazardous conditions. Safety is everyone’s job, and essential to our success as a responsible global business.

Join us by sharing this post and asking your family and friends to commit to safety.