Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Cutting workplace safety corners costs business

Cutting workplace safety corners costs business

Too many New Zealand companies underestimate the impact of workplace injuries on their businesses and their bottom lines suffer as a result, says business consultant Chris Beath.

An engineer by training, the former general manager of Shell Todd Oil Services, the operator of the Maui and Kapuni gas fields, will speak at the ACC-hosted Bold Perspective Conference in Auckland next week.

“Many chief executives either don’t fully cost the impact of accidents on their companies or they accept these costs as an inevitable price of doing business,” he said.

“Others say they can’t afford safety, arguing they’re a small company with tight margins and lack the resources to develop safety systems.”

But these companies miss out on a three to fivefold return on a safety investment through lower operating costs, less down-time and better productivity, he said.

Mr Beath said there was a strong connection between a company’s safety record and its performance generally.

“The best indicator of how well a company is managed is to look at its safety record. There is at least a 10-to-one difference in safety performance between the best and worst companies in any sector of the economy, and this is usually reflected in their business performance, too,” he said.

“Companies that take the initiative on safety generally also look after staff properly and have good training and management systems. Safety really does pay.”

As general manager of the operator of the Maui platforms, Mr Beath oversaw a significant improvement in safety. Lost time injuries dropped from around the New Zealand average of 25 per one million man hours to a level significantly better than industry rates internationally of 2.3 per million.

In fact, Shell Todd Oil Services employees and contractors involved in major construction projects often go for more than a million man hours without an injury, he said.

Mr Beath said the company set a target of halving its injury rate each year – and achieved it.

“This dramatic reduction did not cost a lot of money - no more than $100,000 a year for the injury prevention programme - yet accidents used to cost between $1 million and $2 million a year,” he said.

“Our investment in safety was about the best investment you could make. Where else could you get finance returns of 500 per cent in one year,” he asked.

“The exciting thing is that many other New Zealand companies are also achieving significant reductions in accident rates and can demonstrate similar returns on their safety dollar.”

“Arguments that firms are too busy to spend time on safety, or that their safety performance is okay because it meets the legislative requirements do not stand up to any close scrutiny. The truth is that improving workplace safety is just about the best investment a company can make.”

Bold Perspectives runs from March 21-23 and with more than 30 speakers from around New Zealand and overseas addressing questions as varied as the cost of road accidents, the impact of grief in the workplace, employee involvement in improving safety and preventing falls among the elderly.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


I Sing The Highway Electric: Charge Net NZ To Connect New Zealand

BMW is turning Middle Earth electric after today announcing a substantial contribution to the charging network Charge Net NZ. This landmark partnership will enable Kiwis to drive their electric vehicles (EVs) right across New Zealand through the installation of a fast charging highway stretching from Kaitaia to Invercargill. More>>


Watch This Space: Mahia Rocket Lab Launch Site Officially Opened

Economic Development Minster Steven Joyce today opened New Zealand’s first orbital launch site, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island’s east coast. More>>


Marketing Rocks!
Ig Nobel Award Winners Assess The Personality Of Rocks

A Massey University marketing lecturer has received the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize for economics for a research project that asked university students to describe the “brand personalities” of three rocks. More>>


Nurofen Promotion: Reckitt Benckiser To Plead Guilty To Misleading Ads

Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) intends to plead guilty to charges of misleading consumers over the way it promoted a range of Nurofen products, the Commerce Commission says. More>>


Half A Billion Accounts, Including Xtra: Yahoo Confirms Huge Data Breach

The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. More>>


Rural Branches: Westpac To Close 19 Branches, ANZ Looks At 7

Westpac confirms it will close nineteen branches across the country; ANZ closes its Ngaruawahia branch and is consulting on plans to close six more branches; The bank workers union says many of its members are nervous about their futures and asking ... More>>

Interest Rates: RBNZ's Wheeler Keeps OCR At 2%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2 percent and said more easing will be needed to get inflation back within the target band. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news