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The National Safety Council just released through its Work to Zero initiative a new white paper: Making the Business Case for Safety Innovation. The report builds on the initiative’s initial 2020 research and outlines how employers can calculate and leverage the lifesaving and cost-saving benefits of safety technology in the workplace.

The white paper examines the benefits of eight key technologies – ranging from solutions for fatigue monitoring to autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for material handling and sensor technology for proximity detection and collision avoidance.

This report illustrates the return on investment using safety technology to reduce workplace injuries and fatalities across a spectrum of industries and businesses. Along with the paper, the NSC Work to Zero investment calculator was released, which allows companies to explore the value of each of these key technologies in saving lives and saving money.

“We know financial constraints are a common barrier to investing in safety technology, especially across low-margin industries. However, last year, nearly 5,000 individuals were lost to preventable workplace fatalities, which is why educating small and large businesses alike on the costs saved and earned through a broader implementation of these technologies is critical,” said Paul Vincent, NSC vice president of workplace practice. “This report ultimately provides environment, health and safety managers a quantifiable foundation for building a business case for safety innovation, which we know saves worker lives.”

Compared to maintaining a business-as-usual state, Work to Zero found businesses that invest in safety innovation not only stand to quickly recoup their initial investments, but also experience greater efficiencies in production and quality due to the prevention of serious injuries and fatalities.

Computing the financial implications of technology adoption represents arguably the most essential step towards initializing investment – to make the case to management to prioritize project budgets. The return on investment (ROI) calculator is a valuable tool to help support a business case for innovation by providing a metric for profitably of the investment; comparing investment cost to how much is earned/saved from implementation.

For example, organizations in higher-risk industries can expect short payback periods, such as a large construction company analyzed to have experienced year-over-year returns, totaling nearly $1.8 million in the fifth year alone, following sensor technology implementation (see Figure 3 and Figure 4). These savings are a result of reducing missed workdays, medical costs and wage losses, among several other factors.

Funded by the McElhattan Foundation, Work to Zero aims to eliminate workplace fatalities by 2050. In addition to helping make safety innovation more accessible to employers, the initiative recently partnered with Safetytech Accelerator on a pilot program to mitigate risks around working at height.