Value in Safety

Capitalizing on Your Investment
Aug 28/2018 Published by: Lytx Lytx Telematics

With the current economic downturn and a questionable outlook for recovery in the foreseeable future, companies are looking for value anywhere it can be found and are managing the middle more aggressively  than ever before.  Generally when I write safety articles, I attempt to evoke a sense of responsibility and personal ownership. I try to inspire the reader to “Do The Right Thing” for all the “Right Reasons.” It is about life and taking care of those around you. It is about understanding our responsibility to our employees and the public. However, this article is going to look at safety from a value proposition. For years, the industry viewed the cost of safety as a cost of doing business, but ask any experienced risk or safety manager and they will tell you that the financial ramifications of a poor or reactive safety program are enormous.

The associated costs of an ineffective and poor safety program,  such  as claims cost, insurance increases, loss of productivity, damaged  equipment,  potential  loss of business,  market  impact and the list goes on,  make it all the more compelling for companies  to invest in the value of safety.  It is an investment in the most valuable assets we have, our people and our reputation. There are certainly costs to the development and deployment of an effective risk and behavioral-based safety program,  bur the value and return on the investment  is unmatched in any other aspect of our business.

A Proactive Approach

An increasingly proactive approach to safety can result in a 52 percent reduction in incident rates over a several year period.  This value proposition is culminating in year over year improvement and fostering a culture of safety that is unique to the industry.  Some of the investments made to achieve success include installing event recording technology throughout the fleet to identify risky driving behavior.  This is an instrumental tool to the frontline manager to coach risky behavior and reinforce positive behavior prior to an accident occurring. 

Additionally, defensive driver training which targets intersection, rear collision, backing and rollover type of incidents, can assist in reinforcing the skills needed to successfully operate the vehicles while avoiding these serious and costly vehicle accidents.

Lastly, a  progressive  injury  and  illness prevention program that educates  employees to the work related  hazards  found  in  the  industry  has  been  very beneficial.  By evaluating necessary movement and the physiological effects to the body and providing tools needed to reduce and eliminate potential exposure, such as container lifts, automated side load systems and difficult stop awareness programs, we have been able to reduce the number and severity of work-related injuries.


Partnerships with organizations within and external to the waste industry are investments that provide great returns on the value of safety. Specifically, education, equipment manufacturing and technology partners can provide resources to identify cause, educate skills and develop remedies to avoid incidents. But the most effective tool remains the proactive personal ownership, commitment and awareness of every employee, led by managers and supervisors who are driven to safety and the goal of zero incidents.

Although it does take a great amount of investment to develop and deploy these proactive risk and behavioral-based safety programs throughout its organization, the return on investment will continue for years to come.

Shawn Mandel is the Director of Safety for Waste Connections, Inc. He is responsible for the development, support and implementation of safety and compliance programs throughout the company.  Shawn has more than 20 years of experience as a safety professional and joined Waste Connections in 2011. Shawn is a member of ANSI Z245 committees’ and a member of the NIOSH/NORA service sector committee. He can be reached at (916) 608-9200 or shawnma@wasteconnections.com

Related Tags

Driver Safety Risk Management

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