The Impact of Workforce Wearables – Part 3, For Industrial Organizations
January 16, 2020 | Tom West, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
This post is the third in a series highlighting the impact of MākuSafe® workforce wearables. Read the first post (The Impact of Workforce Wearables – Part 1, For Workers) and second post (The Impact of Workforce Wearables – Part 2, For Safety Leaders).
For organizations to compete and succeed in the business environment of today, their core business strategies must include attracting and retaining talent, maximizing returns on human capital, ensuring efficient processes and managing costs.
Organizations that experience a high volume of accidents pay a hefty price. Prospective employees seek out businesses that put safety first, and those without effective safety programs often have trouble securing and keeping talented workers. Additionally, a high number of OSHA recordables means a high experience modification rating — also known as EMR or mod score — and high worker compensation premiums. By helping businesses approach safety in a proactive manner and reduce the overall number of safety incidents, MākuSafe supports strong strategies.
Why industrial organizations will appreciate MākuSafe
One of the key reasons why MākuSafe is valuable for businesses is that it enables them to be competitive when building a strong workforce. People are more valuable than ever before — and with unemployment rates lower than they’ve been in years, good people are hard to find, and even harder to keep. Having the MākuSafe system in place is a clear indication for both potential and current employees that the company is making worker safety a priority.
MākuSafe is also helpful in ensuring a smooth transition to more connected factory systems. As businesses go through digital and automation transformations, they end up with massive amounts of data in the cloud — and it can be overwhelming. Through API, MākuSafe enables users to pull all of the relevant data from multiple data sources — people, facilities management and equipment — into a single platform with a single login, where it’s easy to identify broader trends and paint a powerful and robust picture for safety leaders.
In terms of insurance, the MākuSafe data enables businesses to become more informed as policyholders. There is generally little opportunity to tell an insurance company what you think you should pay — and yet the information that MākuSafe gathers allows businesses to demonstrate their effectiveness in eliminating hazards. While it certainly doesn’t guarantee reduced workers’ compensation insurance rates, leveraging this data means that businesses can paint their insurer a more accurate picture of what things looked like on the floor over the past year.
Of course, business is also about the bottom line. So while the MākuSafe system offers up potential savings in terms of reduced insurance costs, lower accident-related costs (since there are fewer accidents) and greater efficiency, how much does it cost — and is that cost worth it?
Here’s the reality: for about the cost of a FitBit, organizations can issue MākuSafe to their workers in the same way as PPE. And with the average slip and fall incident costing businesses about $46,000, gathering predictive data that can support an organization’s safety leadership in preventing even one claim allows the MākuSafe system to more than pay for itself.
How it makes an impact
For industrial organizations, perhaps the most important impact that MākuSafe has is the ability to enhance the overall safety culture, helping organizations move from being reactive to being proactive about the safety of their employees.
When we talk about moving towards a strong safety culture, we’re looking at changing behavioral and attitudinal norms — things that are deeply rooted and often difficult to change. To do so requires influencing people’s attitudes and perceptions on a daily basis through conversation, which demonstrates to workers that the organizational leaders care and are actively working to try to make their lives better. It’s about establishing trust and increasing employee engagement and buy-in. MākuSafe provides an opportunity to have these conversations with workers, and statistics show that environments with positive safety cultures and engaged employees have about 70% fewer accidents.
And as we look further at employees, it’s important to note how using MākuSafe can help improve talent attraction and retention, since workers often seek out workplaces that value and emphasize their safety. Looking ahead in this way is critical to long-term planning and ensuring your company can overcome labor shortages and remain competitive in the market. Put simply, the ability of the organization to attract and retain talent determines its future ability to exist — and having MākuSafe helps give companies a leg up on the competition by letting workers know that their safety and well being is a top priority.
SMEs — or small- and medium-sized enterprises — with a so-called ‘accidental safety director’ (like HR or administrative staff) see extensive benefits from the delivery of alerts to real-time trends and recommended action steps to mitigate risks before accidents occur. It means that even when the person in charge of safety isn’t a certified safety expert, there is no doubt about where potential hazards lie and what exactly can be done to get ahead of them. The system also enhances the organizational agility of these businesses by providing easy-to-use data that allows them to adapt, evolve, make decisions and use employees in the most effective, efficient way.
Finally, of course, the system helps businesses reduce costs and increase efficiencies. We’ve already talked about how its predictive nature can save tens of thousands of dollars in workers’ compensation costs — but time is money, and this is another area where MākuSafe thrives. The platform can use the data collected to pre-populate incident reports, alleviating some of the administrative burden on safety leaders, streamlining EHS compliance reporting and paperwork, and freeing up more time for safety managers to spend talking to their employees. It offers an opportunity for evidence-based decision making on process re-engineering and continuous improvement for leadership, and will eventually allow safety leaders to complete return to work program tracking and documentation within the system.