It is very important for safety professionals to look beyond the narrow focus of HSE and understand the concept of overall risk. If you want to know what the heads of businesses pay attention to, look at what costs them money. It may be injuries or losses from unsafe acts, but it may be a host of other factors. The main point is that identifying risk helps identify where the company should budget funds.
Every year Traveler’s Insurance produces a business risk index that ranks the trends that worry business leaders. HSE professionals may be disappointed to learn that safety doesn’t crack the top seven list of concerns.
It is no surprise that medical costs and employee benefits make the list. They are budget line item-expenses that are rising faster than inflation.
Most interesting are the factors that are harder to attach costs to. Cyber risks/data breaches and the difficulties in attracting and retaining talents have moved up the list of concerns over the lasts few years. Attracting talent may be an indicator that the improving economy is making this a priority again.
The most interesting thing to come out of the study is the importance of cyber risks. This is clearly a growing national concern and each story of security breaches involving industry and government is bringing this to the forefront. You can bet that this will receive more an more attention within companies as they struggle to protect their systems.
Safety starts to show up as a concern when you look at the individual industries. It is number three on the list for construction and the ninth leading concern for transportation.
There are important lessons here for safety professionals. If you want to make sure your company is investing in safety, you need to show how that investment addresses the risks that keep business leaders up at night. That means making that case that a safer workforce reduces workers comp, lost days, regulatory compliance and the ability of your company to hire and hold on to quality employees.