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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

The ROI of OHS: Boost your organization with a strong health and safety program

Whether it’s innovative technology, specialized skills training, new equipment or quality supplies, you invest in your business knowing that the return will outweigh the initial costs. Investment is necessary for operations to grow and be successful.

“Investment in health and safety is no different,” says Ryan Dick, Health and Safety Consultant with WSPS. “If you aren’t currently investing in your health and safety and the health and safety of your employees, you’re leaving your business vulnerable—particularly since a serious injury could put your business in jeopardy.”

“Imagine an employee suffers a crushing injury from a large machine at a manufacturing facility. Or imagine that an employee gets hit by a forklift and has a critical injury,” says Ryan. “Not only will you be dealing with a serious and tragic medical emergency, but you will also have to figure out how to continue production when you are down workers, deal with an incident investigation, and operate with equipment that is now out of commission. In addition, think about the damage done to your business’ reputation and employee morale, as well as potential financial fines and liabilities. It can be very difficult for a company to recover from something like this.”

What’s your health and safety ROI?

The Institute for Work and Health, an Ontario-based organization that specializes in occupational health and safety research, studied the return on investment (ROI) for Ontario businesses when they invest in health and safety. They took the average health and safety expenditures across 17 sectors and measured them against the financial benefits gained. Their findings showed a return ranging from 24% to 114%, depending on the sector. “A 24% return is great for any investment,” Ryan points out.

The expenditures used in the study included health and safety training, supervision, personal protective equipment (PPE), professional occupational health and safety services, and capital investments related to improving health and safety. The average amount invested per employee across the 17 sectors was $1,303.

When determining the ROI, researchers considered the tangible and intangible financial gains. The obvious costs related to an injured employee include things like medical costs, insurance premiums, lost productivity, and finding and training someone else to do the job. When your investment in health and safety prevents injuries, you save these costs and keep your operation running smoothly. When you factor in some of the more intangible gains, such as employee morale and job satisfaction, along with stable, quality production, it adds even more to the financial return.

Invest in your people and reap the rewards

“In a time when it’s difficult to retain employees, investing in their health and safety by providing training and PPE helps to build up their knowledge, develop their skills, and gain experience,” says Ryan. A recent study also found that organizations that prioritize health and safety help attract employees too.

Healthy, competent workers lead to stable, predictable operations. Ryan offers a few suggestions for where to invest to reap the rewards of a strong occupational health and safety program.

  1. Orientation—Provide a detailed health and safety orientation for your workers, even if they are temporary. Make sure to include safe work procedures that address specific tasks.
  2. Hazard Assessment—Take the time to complete detailed hazard assessments for each job or task. This will help ensure that your safe work procedures are comprehensive and account for all the hazards workers may face on the job.
  3. Training—Required Health and Safety Training must be provided to employees, so make it a priority. New hires must complete the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development’s Health and Safety Awareness Training. Additionally employees must receive specialized training on job-specific hazards, in areas such as working at heights, confined space, lockout/tag out, ladder safety, WHMIS, and equipment operation. Having this knowledge could save a life.
  4. PPE—Supply workers with the PPE they need to do their job safely and ensure they are trained on how to use and properly take care of it.
  5. Safe infrastructure—Invest in the tools and infrastructure that will make work safer for all workers. Ensure procedures are adjusted to account for new equipment and that everyone is properly trained.

How WSPS can help

Take steps today to improve your health and safety ROI. Learn from WSPS experts to identify where and how to invest in your health and safety program.



The information in this article is accurate as of its publication date.

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Categorized in: WSPS