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8 Ways to Cut EHS Costs Without Compromising Safety

During lean times, there are many different ways to reduce business costs and preserve profitability. But the truth is that not all cost-cutting measures are created equal.

The cost-cutting measures we usually think of — layoffs, downsizing, pay cuts — look good on paper but can hurt your company in the long run. And there’s no question that reducing your EHS staff or slashing safety budgets can have a negative impact on the health and well-being of your employees.

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A better approach is to focus on measures that will reduce expenses while maximizing business value: Negotiating better rates for products and services. Automating and digitizing manual processes. Standardizing and consolidating standalone software tools. These strategies will help your business through a slow period as well as set you up to seize new opportunities when the economy rebounds.

With that in mind, here are eight ways you can cut EHS costs quickly without compromising safety.

1. Go paperless

The most obvious benefit of going paperless is the reduction in printing costs. It might not seem like a lot, but the amount of money you spend on paper, ink, and copiers can really add up. An internal study by Citigroup found that if each of its employees used just one less sheet of paper each week, they would save $700,000 a year! Then there’s the cost of physical file storage, security, shredding, and disposing of all that paper waste.

2. Digitize your processes

Along the same lines, companies can save a significant amount of money by converting EHS information into a digital format. An IDC study noted that companies could experience a 30% cost reduction by digitizing their operations and ensuring workers don’t need to resort to manual paper-based processes.

Digitizing your EHS processes streamlines your team’s workflows and reduces the time spent entering data as well as printing, filing, and searching for documents. Moving from paper to digital tools can help companies save money while improving compliance performance and reducing information security risks. And, while it does require an investment upfront, it will cost far less than forcing employees to rely on inefficient paper-based processes.

3. Consolidate standalone software tools

If you’ve already taken the first steps and moved your EHS processes online, now is a good time to take a closer look at your software tools. How many different tools does your team use on a daily basis — three, four, five? For example, many companies use one system for incident management, another for audits and inspections, and yet another for SDS management. The cost of a single system might not seem like much on its own, but all those software subscription costs can add up quickly.

Reducing the number of standalone systems you’re using can save you money and increase your team’s efficiency. You’re better off in the long run consolidating your software tools into a single unified platform that does all of these things. (Perillon offers one that allows you to start with the basics and add on as you grow.)

4. Equip field workers with mobile apps

Many companies take advantage of digital processes in the office, but then require field workers to fill out and submit paper forms for JSAs, quality checks, and maintenance inspections. This creates inefficiencies for both the workers themselves and EHS teams back at the office, who are forced to waste time manually keying in data.

This situation can be avoided entirely by equipping field workers with mobile apps that allow them to capture data on the spot using a mobile phone or tablet. Information is entered directly into the system, bypassing the need for paper forms and manual processes.

5. Reduce travel

Travel costs are another big line item on EHS budgets. While most companies have already cut back on travel significantly because of the coronavirus pandemic, there are still some situations where EHS team members need to travel on site — for example, to complete an audit. Not only is this expensive, it also creates unnecessary interruptions for team members who have to travel.

Using a mobile audit app with standardized forms can help you avoid the need to travel by enabling audits and inspections to be assigned and completed on site. This will further reduce the need for costly and stressful business trips.

6. Deliver training remotely

Switching from face-to-face instruction to eLearning can reduce training costs significantly without sacrificing instructional quality. In fact, organizations can save up to 70% by replacing traditional classroom training with online training, according to a study by IDC.

By delivering training digitally rather than in-person, you’ll eliminate the need to pay for travel and accommodations for both employees and trainers. Courses are self-paced and can be customized to each learner’s needs. And, since eLearning can speed up training delivery times, employees can get back to work sooner and apply their new skills.

7. Lower your workers’ compensation and insurance premiums

Workers’ compensation and insurance premiums are another big expense for businesses. While you can’t eliminate these costs entirely, you may be able to lower your rate if you’ve reduced your injury rate or made improvements to your safety program. Many insurance companies are willing to offer lower rates for companies that have had no recent claims. And, like your homeowners or auto insurance, it’s worth shopping around to make sure you’re getting the best price.

8. Address the root cause of incidents and non-conformances

A single accident or regulatory violation can be one of the most costly expenses a company can incur. By avoiding a single incident, companies can save thousands of dollars.

Dashboard analytics provide visibility into when, where, and why issues are happening. So, for example, you can see if injuries are more likely to happen at a certain time of day. Or, if there are certain high-risk areas such as assembly lines. With greater insight into your company’s safety and compliance performance, you can put preventive measures in place to avoid these incidents in the first place.

Next steps

Implementing just one of these strategies will result in significant savings for your business while making your entire team more productive. For more ideas, check out five ways to be more productive this year.

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