In this current economy, it is critical to saving money. When it comes to safety, though, one must ask:
• How can you save money without jeopardizing your employees’ safety?
• How can you create and sustain a strong safety culture while staying focused on your profit margins?
Even in a good economy, every safety expert must address this precarious balancing act. Many of the money-saving options focus on long-term goals rather than short-term savings. Short-term remedies may help you meet your budget this month, but they will leave you with the same problems next month, next year, and so on.
A combination of short- and long-term options should keep you moving along the correct path today while also allowing you to meet your long-term objectives, all while staying within your budget.
Here are a few suggestions that should help you get started:
Keeping an eye on your safety solution’s total cost of ownership
You must be aware of the following costs in addition to the overall price:
- Upkeep: How much time do I need to devote to this product’s care?
- Training: How much time is necessary for safety training to utilize this product?
- Usage: How long does it take a person to use this product (for example, set up and tear down)?
- Productivity: What effect does the solution have on the workers’ productivity?
This example will examine three different scenarios with differing upfront costs while examining the hidden “lifetime cost” of implementing these solutions.
Option 1. Low-Cost Harness and Anchor Point
In this example, you purchase the cheapest solution to a fall-protection hazard: This typically entails a low-cost piercing anchor point, a basic harness, and a rudimentary lanyard. Relative to your business’ circumstances, your company may resolve or fix” the issue for only a few hundred dollars.
But what is the “lifetime cost”?
- First and foremost, install the piercing anchor point.
- Company personnel must also maintain the piercing anchor point to prevent leaks from forming at the penetration points.
- While the lanyard you purchased may be suitable for that anchor point, it is a fixed-length, limiting its usability in other/future instances, forcing you to obtain new alternatives in the future.
- Finally, while that “cheap” harness you bought might be OSHA or ANSI certified, does it allow the worker to move efficiently? Because the harness has little elasticity, the worker may be awkward, have limited mobility, and wear it too loosely, potentially causing preventable injuries.
In the end, you saved money on the first purchase, but you will incur the following additional costs:
- daily inspections are required
- workers must work slowly.
- maintenance is required
- reusability is limited.
- retraining and education
- the most danger of injury
- high insurance premiums
- keeping track of logbooks
- training documentation
- ensuring correct application
Finally, harness and anchor point safety gear cannot be used indefinitely by company workers; most of them have a maximum lifespan of 5 years or until they fail a daily inspection, whichever happens first. Less expensive products tend to wear out sooner than those of superior quality.
Option 2. High-End Harness with Non-Penetrating Anchor Point
In this case, you choose a more expensive fall prevention option. This time, you’ll invest in a non-invasive anchor point (one that won’t pierce the roof, steel, or concrete and can be recycled), a rope-grab lifeline (an adjustable lifeline that will keep you from reaching the roof’s edge), and a snug, mid-level harness. Again, depending on your situation, this solution may be only moderately to much more costly.
What is the overall “lifetime cost” of this solution?
- First and foremost, your anchor point will only need to be inspected rather than maintained.
- This solution will provide workers a lot of flexibility in terms of how far they may move away from the anchor point. This safety equipment will give workers the freedom to use it in various situations while also limiting their capacity to access the fall hazard, preventing them from falling in the first place.
- The harness will provide more comfort and mobility. This safety equipment will result in a speedier worker with a better range of motion, which will wear the harness more snugly (which is safer), and a worker who is more willing to follow your safety guidelines.
In the end, this solution means you’ve spent more upfront but reduced total lifetime costs. The total costs of this solution include:
- inspections daily
- low insurance premiums
- employees should be able to work at a modest pace.
You’ll still have the same management obligations as the cheaper option, but you won’t have to spend as much time checking appropriate equipment use and urging personnel to do so.
The savings in this scenario include:
- workers will be more productive.
- improved adaptation when it comes to other/future sites
- Injury risk reduction.
- Insurance premiums reduction.
Employees will also be happier and more interested in the safety culture you are attempting to establish.
Option 3. Installing a Passive Guardrail System
In this scenario, you buy the “best” solution for a fall hazard. This time, you decide to get a railing system (non-penetrating if possible). This choice will most likely have the most extraordinary out-of-pocket costs but the lowest lifetime costs. This safety solution is the safest option for most cases, and it requires the least amount of thought and works to set up. In addition, daily inspections, training, and worker engagement cease when using a passive guardrail system. Workers will not have to consider the risk of falling.
Let’s have a look at the price vs. the savings for this option:
You will incur some maintenance expenditures if you purchase a lower-end railing that is not galvanized or penetrates the surface. In addition, you must inspect the railing every year, regardless of the style of railing you select.
- Workers in this circumstance will be able to work as quickly as possible while remaining unfettered.
- If you buy a better railing, you won’t have to worry about management, training, or upkeep.
- Your insurance prices will be the least, and your risk of injury will be relatively low.
- Employees will appreciate not having to worry about falling dangers.
Final Thoughts on Saving on Construction Workplace Practices
By conducting an accurate cost-benefit analysis, it becomes clear that more expensive upfront solutions save money in the long run. The bottom line is you will be required to invest effort, time, and thoughtful consideration into your safety practices, but that could save you a lot of money in the future.