Business is looking bullish. The Fed is predicting 3.8% unemployment by the end of this year, with 2019 and 2020 expected to be even better. What’s more, in the first quarter of 2018 alone, businesses ramped up capital expenditures at a record pace, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.
These are bullish statistics indeed, and indicative of a strong economy with strong industrial production. But safety and operations leaders know this investment and growth comes with a set of unique risks and exposures.
Growth means new employees who are unfamiliar with existing hazards and safe work procedures, making them (and those they work with) more susceptible to errors that lead to mishaps or injuries. Extended production also carries risks as companies struggle to meet increased demands. Ongoing overtime and the resulting human and equipment fatigue can result in exposures often overlooked by organizational leaders. Newly purchased equipment and facility construction can also contribute to risk if safety procedures aren’t updated or construction is started without applying “prevention through design” safety principles.
During this expanding economy, business leaders should ask themselves if they are confident that they are proactively controlling, reducing, or eliminating exposures to ensure every employee or contractor can work safely.
For decades, we have seen companies ride the safety roller coaster. Incidents increase and the company reacts with a flurry of safety-related activities. Incidents decrease and a sense of control and overconfidence sets in. However, we can never be effective in the long term while relying predominately on a lagging indicator like incidents.
A safe work environment is built through an intentional, ongoing, and strategic focus on exposure reduction, rigorously executed over time through all business cycles. We at DEKRA believe exposure reduction is best accomplished through improving:
- Exposure Control Systems
- Organizational Reliability
- Performance Management Systems
- Working Interface (exposure to hazards)
We’ve all heard the cliché in business that “A rising tide lifts all boats.” While an expanding economy certainly creates many positive outcomes in business, it is our responsibility as leaders to ensure safety systems are just as buoyant as our bottom lines and shareholder returns.
Discover how organizations are maintaining effective exposure control during good times and bad. Our complimentary webinar Doing It Error Free: Taking Control of Your Brain Behind the Wheel, At Work, and At Home reveals the neuroscience underlying exposure control and creating reliable performance. Learn more.