How Safety Programmes Can Lower Costs

If you could save your company money, improve productivity and increase employee morale, would you? Demonstrating the value of safety to management is often a challenge because the return on investment (ROI) can be cumbersome to measure. Your goal in measuring safety is to balance your investment vs. the return expected. Where do you begin?

Measuring Safety Costs

There are many different approaches to measuring the cost of safety, and the way you do so depends on your goal. Defining your goal helps you to determine what costs to track and how complex your tracking will be.

For example, you may want to capture certain data simply to determine what costs to build into the price of your service, or you may want to track your company’s total cost of safety to show increased profitability, which would include more specific data collection like safety wages and benefits, operational costs and insurance costs.

Since measuring can be time consuming, general cost formulas are available. If it is important for your organisation to measure safety as it relates to profitability, more accurate tracking should be done. For measuring data, safety costs can be divided into two categories:

  1. Direct (hard) costs, which include:
  • Safety wages
  • Operational costs
  • Insurance premiums and/or legal fees
  • Accidents and incidents
  • Fines and/or penalties
  1. Indirect (soft) costs, which go beyond those recorded on paper, such as:
  • Accident investigation
  • Repairing damaged property
  • Administrative expenses
  • Worker stress in the aftermath of an accident resulting in lost productivity, low employee morale and increased absenteeism
  • Training and compensating replacement workers
  • Poor reputation, which translates to difficulty attracting skilled workers and lost business share

When calculating soft costs, minor accidents costs are about four times greater than direct costs, and serious accidents are about 10 to 15 times greater. According to the International Risk Management Institute, just the act of measuring costs will drive improvement. In theory, those providing the data become more aware of the costs and begin managing them. This supports the common business belief that what gets measured gets managed. And, as costs go down, what gets rewarded gets repeated.

The Value of Safety

Studies indicate that for every £1 invested in effective safety programmes, you can save £4 to £6 as illnesses, injuries and fatalities decline. With a good safety programme in place, your costs will naturally decrease. It is important to determine what costs to measure to establish benchmarks, which can then be used to demonstrate the value of safety over time.

Also, keep in mind that your total cost of safety is just one part of managing your total cost of risk. When safety is managed and monitored, it can also help drive down your total cost of risk.

Considering the statistics, safety experts believe that there is direct correlation between safety and a company’s profit. We are committed to helping you establish a strong health and safety programme that protects both your workers and your bottom line.

Contact the insurance professionals at RHA Insurance Services to learn more about our value added services. Call us on 0203 960 2944 or email us at enquiries@rhainsuranceservices.uk.net or alternatively, visit www.rhainsuranceservices.uk.net to learn more about our tailored insurance schemes.

Trade Credit Insurance

The risk of debtor insolvency is an inherent part of owning a business. Sometimes your customers simply do not or cannot pay you—it is unavoidable, but not disastrous. Your business can survive such a loss by purchasing a trade credit insurance policy.

Trade credit insurance, or credit insurance, provides your business with protection against the failure of your customers to pay their debts and substantial delays in receiving their payments. What may seem catastrophic at first is completely bearable with adequate trade credit cover. Learn how to overcome the non-payment of customers’ debts with the following overview of trade credit insurance.

Reining in Customers

Purchasing trade credit insurance can help save your business from crippling bad debt. As globalisation continues to lengthen businesses’ supply chains and expand their customer bases beyond national borders, debtors and creditors continue to grow further apart. This makes it easier to lose track of your customers and presents more obstacles for their payments, such as government restrictions or political instability abroad. Trade credit insurance can protect against the various risks of trading across borders.

Not receiving customers’ payments on time—or at all—could be fatal for your business, but trade credit insurance helps transfer that risk. Policies typically cover about 90 per cent of customers’ outstanding debts, so the failure of one large customer or multiple small ones will not overwhelm your organisation.

There are two main types of trade credit insurance:

  • Whole turnover covers the insured’s entire book of debtors, providing the maximum level of protection against bad debt.
  • Specific account applies only to those accounts the insured feels are at risk. These policies may be subject to an increased premium, and are riskier than whole turnover cover, since the insured may choose incorrectly and fail to insure an account that defaults.

Common Extensions

In order to be effective, trade credit insurance policies should be tailored to your business and list of debtors. Insurers typically offer extensions to provide a bespoke policy, including:

  • Pre-delivery work in progress, which safeguards against the insured’s financial losses due to a customer becoming insolvent before work is completed but after the insured has incurred costs such as material or labour. If a project goes bust, the insured is not left to shoulder the debt and pick up the pieces.
  • Supplier default, which protects against financial losses from a supplier going out of business. This includes the costs associated with finding new suppliers, the loss of advance payments to the defunct supplier and any possible fines or damages for late delivery.

Calculating Premium Costs

Insurers assess your business and determine your premium by considering your business’ risk, the amount of turnover you want to insure, your customer demographic, the overall state of your industry and your success or failure in past credit management. Your premium will likely increase if your customers are concentrated in one or two accounts rather than several. If you prefer a specific account policy, the insurer will investigate the credit worthiness of each individual account when calculating your premium.

Make sure to implement and maintain a stringent credit control policy. Any flexibility or instability in how your business administers and sustains credit will translate to higher premiums.

Depending on which cover you choose, you can arrange a policy for a fixed period of 12 months or for the duration of a specific customer’s contract.

Bespoke is Best

A clunky, ill-fitting trade credit policy will not benefit your business. Make sure your insurer offers bespoke cover that fits your business’ needs. Trade credit insurance is a small, specialised field that requires careful risk assessment. A precise assessment will create an effective insurance policy that keeps you above water when your customers go under. Contact Direct Insurance Corporate Risks at 01277 844 360 today for more information on wielding bespoke insurance policies to shield your business from risk.

Common Occupational Health Risks

Working in the waste and recycling industry, like all jobs, carries with it a certain degree of risk. However, the waste and recycling industry has a particularly high level of risk, stemming from the chemical and volatile nature of its work, which constantly places its workers in dangerous situations.

Minimising the industry’s high level of risk to keep your employees safe is not difficult. It all starts with identifying the following common occupational health risks that threaten your employees, and devising strategies to limit exposure.

Bioaerosols

When your employees handle any biodegradable wastes, such as compost, green and food waste, they expose themselves to bioaerosols.

Bioaerosols are a natural by-product of decaying organic matter. When green waste breaks down, microbes grow quickly in the warm, moist environment. Collecting and handling that waste causes the microbes to become airborne, creating bioaerosols—microbes suspended with dust in the air—which workers then breathe in while working.

Although bioaerosols are naturally present in the air, high concentrations can be damaging, and HSE-funded research found that workers in close proximity to waste composting processes could be exposed to bioaerosols between 10 and 1,000 times greater than in ambient air. Repeated inhalation of compost bioaerosols in large concentrations can aggravate the immune system and lead to asthma or other respiratory diseases such as extrinsic allergic alveolitis.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002 (2003 in Northern Ireland) defines bioaerosols as a substance hazardous to health. You should assess your business’ bioaerosol exposure and take the following actions to lower it:

  • Identify areas of your waste handling facility where bioaerosol concentrations are highest.
  • List the processes and activities that are most likely to create bioaerosols, such as aerating actively composting material.
  • Avoid handling bioaerosol-containing material during certain activities or weather that may boost bioaerosol exposure.
  • Provide employees with respiratory protective equipment and train them in its proper use.

Discarded Needles

Despite clear laws dictating the disposal of clinical devices, workers may still be exposed to discarded needles and other sharps during waste and recycling collection and sorting. The actual risk depends on several factors:

  • Whether the needle contains blood residue
  • Whether the needle user was infected with hepatitis or HIV viruses
  • How much infected material enters the bloodstream
  • How infective the material is

To help your workers steer clear of needlestick and sharps injuries, provide rigid containers like wheelie bins instead of plastic sacks, and rely on non-manual waste handling procedures. If you cannot avoid manual procedures, require workers to wear puncture-resistant clothing to shield their hands, arms and legs.

Personal Hygiene

Statistics measuring lost working time attributable to poor personal hygiene are unreliable, but the link between the two is solid. Waste and recycling workers’ good personal hygiene is essential for preventing infections and other ill health caused by working with waste and reduces overall sick leave. Antiseptic hand wipes are not enough—your employees need you to do the following:

  • Design your facilities so they can be easily cleaned according to the amount of waste, dust and other residues deposited during normal operations.
  • Provide quality washing facilities for employees.
  • Train workers to understand the importance of hygiene and utilise the available facilities.

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)

MSDs are any injuries, damage or disorders of the joints or other tissues in the upper/lower limbs or the back. They account for about one-third of all reported injuries in the waste and recycling industry, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Factors that contribute to MSDs include load weight, receptacle type and design, and collection frequency. Conduct a risk assessment to determine which systems of work are most likely to increase your employees’ chances of suffering a manual handling injury.

Noise

Everyday work duties in the waste and recycling industry are noisy. Without adequate control, employees may be exposed to high levels of noise and risk hearing damage. To comply with the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (2006 in Northern Ireland), eliminate hazardous noise wherever possible, control noise exposure using engineering means so far as is reasonably practicable, and provide adequate protective equipment such as ear defenders.

Slips and Trips

All workplaces are subject to slips and trips—it is one of the most widespread workplace hazards. Luckily, effective solutions are often simple and cheap, and can improve working conditions and workplace productivity. Heed these general tips to keep your employees on firm ground:

  • Eliminate traffic on rough ground where possible.
  • Level rough ground and clearly designate pedestrian routes.
  • Improve drainage to remove standing water.
  • Clean up spills immediately.
  • Minimise surface slipperiness with suitable floor treatments.

Asbestos

All types of asbestos can be dangerous if disturbed. Asbestos waste should be disposed of properly, but employees may still encounter incorrectly or illegally disposed-of asbestos. If your employees could potentially encounter asbestos waste, follow all asbestos regulations, offer asbestos awareness training to help them identify dangerous materials and ensure they follow safe systems of work.

Guard Your Business

These risks are just a sampling of the vast array facing your employees. Because not every waste and recycling business faces exactly the same risks, you need a bespoke policy tailored to your organisation’s specific threats. Trust the insurance professionals at Direct Insurance Corporate Risks to provide you with industry-specific guidance and a policy perfectly tailored to your needs.

Our Easter Opening Hours

Happy Easter to all our followers!

Please note that our offices will be closed over the Easter period as follows:

  • Friday 19th April ’19 – office closed
  • Monday 22nd April ’19 – office closed

We will resume our normal operating hours (8:30am-5pm) from Tuesday 23rd April ’19.

Have a lovely Easter!