Safety Budgeting

Safety budgeting is a function of energy since the sources of accident or incidents are usually the result of energy being released. The budget should include the cost of placing safeguards on machines and equipment, protection from exposure to electricity, protection and training of equipment operators with controls or personal protective equipment, the damage to equipment, implementation of controls, fire prevention and firefighting needs, the actual cost of injuries as well as disruption of production, and recertification of equipment (e.g., cranes). Any time a safety incident can be prevented, a cost saving is accomplished. The safety budget should emphasize the cost of safety prevention activities versus the cost of occurrences of safety-related incidents.

Management Budgeting

Safety and health management is more of an administrative function even though action items and their completion are an integral part of the safety and health initiative. The functions of time and cost for staff and workers involved in safety meetings, safety talks, and participatory programs are an indicator of the company's commitment to safety and health.

Cost and time to conduct audits and inspections to identify hazards and make recommendations for intervention and controls are management functions. The emphasis on time may seem irrelevant, but time is money or cost. Audits may result in the need for new equipment, revamping of processes and procedures, reengineering of equipment, revising of programs, training or retraining, or changes in safe operating procedures.

As a safety and health professional in charge, you must make sure that there is the proper staff with the right skill levels to perform the action elements contained within the budget that has been developed. If the company does not have the individuals with the skills needed, then these needed individuals can be contracted, or use temporary qualified staff. Include this cost in the budget.

When a company implements a new program that is needed to effectively reduce the risk of accidents/incidents, it results in an investment in resources again of time and dollars.

When an accident, incident, or fatality occurs, myriad time-consuming and costly factors accompany it—not just the cost of the investigation but the loss of production, equipment damage, loss of productive worker, litigation, OSHA enforcement activities, loss of supervisor's time; the list goes on, and costs mount.

There is always the cost of new-hire training, new-job or new-task training, new-process or new-program training, safety and health training for managers and supervisors, and refresher training for such areas as hazardous waste remediation, asbestos abatement, and lead abatement. At times, first-aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation training or retraining is necessary. The components of managing safety and health must be planned for in the OSH budget.

Environmental Budgeting

In many companies, environmental safety is addressed as a combined effort with OSH, entitled environmental/occupational safety and health (EOSH). There is a link between the two since environmental issues can cause both safety and health hazards to workers, such as hazardous material exposure from spills or emergencies from the release of toxic gases. The development of a budget for environmental safety and health should follow a similar process as OSH because failure to comply with the US Environmental Protection Agency's regulations can be much more costly than failure to comply with OSHA's regulations with regard to appreciable higher fine assessment for violations.

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