No matter where they are or what they do, there’s one thing that all your clients know for sure: there’s no running from OSHA. Failure to comply with state and federal OSHA standards comes with a hefty price tag and an even bigger headache. So it’s no surprise that risk management teams put so much energy into interpreting and enforcing OSHA regulations.
But at the end of the day, compliance only means meeting OSHA’s minimum requirements. And OSHA requirements? Those aren’t the equivalent of safety. They’re more like finishing a couch to 5k program when you’re training for a marathon — a great (and mandatory) starting point, but you’ve still got a way to go.
By moving beyond compliance and pursuing safety, your client can save money and lives. And as your client’s broker, you can be the catalyst that moves them beyond safety compliance.
OSHA compliance is an extraordinary amount of work all on its own. Moving beyond compliance to emphasize safety? Well, why not ask safety pros to set all the compliance plates they’re spinning on fire while you’re at it?
The work of safety is incredibly worthwhile, but it does demand a conscious change in the way an organization views safety. Safety shouldn’t be something clients do to avoid penalties; it should be an integrated part of their organizational strategy.
Making safety part of their strategy will require a shift in the way clients make decisions. For example, if your client uses a ladder to pull inventory and experiences a high number of fall-related injuries, it may be time to invest in a lift. A lift isn’t cheap, but it does protect employees who work at heights far better than a ladder.
Where does a lift play into organizational strategy?
To find its place, highlight the lifetime costs associated with just one fall off a ladder. Direct costs include higher workers comp premiums, lost time, and the costs of hiring and training a temporary employee. Indirect costs include lost productivity and lower morale.
Multiple injuries only compound those expenses.
Compare the cost of the injury with the price of a lift. You’ll find the choice is simple, even if it’s painful to cut the first check.
Many clients don’t realize that there’s much more at stake than their annual premium.
Companies with a high Ex Mod will find themselves in a difficult situation when their carrier’s appetite for risk diminishes. In an environment where insurance companies become more risk-averse, your client will be stuck with expensive premium bills for years. And don’t forget: a high Ex Mod can cost your clients bids and tenders because more and more companies want to ensure they work with partners who value safety.
As their broker, you can help. Connect with each department and stakeholder who needs to be involved with safety, and encourage them to work closely together. When they don’t communicate, change doesn’t happen. Then, put together a total risk assessment that changes how a business operates on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. Find out where your client wants to be and what their goals are. Then, work with them to create a plan.
The recipe is simple: better safety management means fewer accidents and injuries. Fewer injuries lead to a more favorable Ex Mod and then to lower workers compensation premiums over time. There’s no reason not to start today.
There are real benefits to transitioning from a compliance culture to a safety culture. How do you help clients get started?
Being their broker, you have the power to influence decision-makers using a universal language: money. Senior management will take notice when you demonstrate the real financial impact of their current compliance-first culture. You’ll often find that a quick tally of the direct and indirect cost begins to change minds about the value of a safety program.
With the go-ahead from the office, you can start advocating for change.
Talk to everyone involved with safety — from the safety pros to frontline employees. Together, use the loss runs and other safety data to identify the areas where incidents (and near-misses) occur most often and encourage the team to find the tools to address the root causes and eliminate them where possible.
Your role doesn’t end after these initial conversations. Have regular meetings with your client to discuss risk management progress. Safety programs are never static, and they need regular updates according to changing best practices and new modes of working. Don’t be afraid to ask clients how things are going and what you can do to assist.
OSHA compliance is mandatory, but safety culture produces far better value. As a broker, you can help clients surpass their goal of running a 5k and begin on the marathon to build a better, safer place to work for all employees. It’s worth the effort. The cultural change brought on by better safety management creates direct and indirect savings because a strong safety culture leads to lower workers comp premiums, and it boosts productivity and improves morale.
At Foresight, we believe workers compensation insurers have a role to play in preventing injuries. We wrap our proprietary risk management technology, Safesite, into every policy.
Working with Foresight grants your clients access to an app that gives them real control of their safety program. With a few taps of a button, they can easily manage their unique organizational needs and have real insight into their safety performance.
If you’re looking to move your client past compliance, try using our innovative tools to make the process simpler.