Once you have developed effective engineering and administrative controls, the challenge becomes convincing management to make changes. Management will most likely understand the importance of taking corrective action and readily agree with your ideas.
However, if management doesn't understand the benefits, success becomes less likely. Your ability to present effective recommendations becomes all that more important.
This module will help you learn how to put together "an offer they can't refuse" by emphasizing the corrective action's long-term bottom-line benefits.
When recommendations are not acted upon, it is usually because the decision-maker does not have enough information to decide. To speed up the process and improve the approval rate, you must anticipate the questions decision-makers will ask. The more pertinent the information included in the presentation is, the higher the odds are for approval.
Let's review the scenario introduced in Module 6. We'll use this scenario to make some effective recommendations for corrective action. We want to make sure this accident never happens again. You'll do this by reviewing the accident scenario and answering six key questions.
With the information gained, you will conclude the investigation by writing a recommendation. Your job is to convince me (the decision-maker) that your ideas make sense... and I'm busy, so make it good!
Answer the following six questions to help develop and justify recommendations.
1. What exactly is the problem?
Continue on to the next section to answer the rest of the six questions.
2. What is the history of the problem?
Have similar accidents occurred previously? If so, you should be able to claim that the probability for similar accidents is highly likely to certain. What are previous direct and indirect costs for similar accidents? How have similar accidents affected production and morale?
3. What are the solutions that would correct the problem?
What are the specific engineering, administrative, and PPE controls that, when applied, will eliminate or at least reduce exposure to hazardous conditions? What are the specific system improvements needed to ensure a long-term fix?
The recommendation. For this scenario, assume the safety committee recommends developing a new safety training program for maintenance employees and supervisors. The program includes electrical safety, machine guarding safety, and the control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout) training. It will also include the training for an in-house trainer. The estimated investment for the recommendation is $10,000.
4. Who is the decision-maker?
Who is the decision-maker: the person who can approve, authorize, and act on the corrective measures? What are the possible objections that he/she might have? What are the arguments that will be most effective in overcoming objections?
5. What motivates the decision-maker?
It's important to know what is motivating the decision-maker. Is the decision-maker involved in safety to fulfill one or more of the following imperatives?
Employer motivation will determine the nature of the objections to the recommendations you submit. What are possible objections the decision-maker might raise? Whatever they might be, you must understand their motivations to be better prepared with responses that satisfy the decision-maker's needs.
6. What will be the cost/benefits of corrective actions and system improvements?
It's important to have the answers to all of these questions ready for the decision-maker.
The maintenance supervisor may be able to help you estimate the investment required for recommended corrective actions.
Below are some additional ideas for you to consider.
Safety committees should promote the idea that substantial savings in estimated future accident costs may be realized if management approves the recommendation. To do that, you would cite cost estimates for the accident cited in the report and use that total as a baseline estimate for future savings if a similar accident occurs. You should include two categories of accident costs in the recommendation: insured-direct costs and uninsured-indirect costs.
Click on the button to see a list of examples of direct and indirect costs.
Direct costs are usually insured and include:
Direct-insured costs include:
Uninsured-indirect costs include:
Remember our scenario? Let's get a rough estimate of the total accident costs associated with Bob's hand injury (fracture requiring surgery) while working around the machinery. Suppose the uninsured-indirect accident cost totals around $40,000, and the insured-direct (insured) cost is about $60,000. The total cost will be estimated at $100,000 which will, ultimately, be paid by the employer.
So, now the question is, how much will the employer save in the future by investing now? We'll answer that question in the next section.
So, how much will the employer save in the future by approving your recommendation now? To answer that question we need to determine the return on the investment (ROI). The ROI answers the question, "If the investment prevents a future accident, how much money will we ultimately save in terms of additional sales that we would otherwise have to generate to cover the total costs of the accident?
To determine ROI, you will usually be given a simple formula. You'll be told that for every dollar invested in safety, you'll save between $2 and $6 in the future. That's probably true, but it is a simplistic response that does not accurately tell the employer what the real savings are: To do that, you need to know how hard the company works to pay for the costs of accidents. The biggest factor in determining ROI is your company's profit margin (at least in the private sector). That's why we include the company's profit margin in our formula for determining ROI. Let's look at the step-by-step process for determining ROI.
Reference the graphic below. To determine the ROI in terms of business volume (sales), it's necessary to:
Read the material in each section to find the correct answer to each quiz question. After answering all the questions, click on the "Check Quiz Answers" button to grade your quiz and see your score. You will receive a message if you forgot to answer one of the questions. After clicking the button, the questions you missed will be listed below. You can correct any missed questions and check your answers again.
Check out this interesting video safety message discussing the role that the CSB recommendations program plays in ensuring that the Board's accident investigations have a lasting impact on industrial safety. The principles will apply to your recommendations as well.