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How To Get Your Fall Protection Budget Approved

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Let’s assume you have contacted a fall protection company about a fall hazard at your facility. They have completed the site visit and proposed a viable solution, but you fear your funding won’t be approved by your management team.  If this scenario sounds familiar, you aren’t alone. The good news is that using language that resonates with management improves your odds of approval by leaps and bounds.  Here’s why…

Since last fall’s announcement of the revised Walking-Working Surfaces regulations, more clients are mentioning compliance as a motivating factor, but playing the OSHA card doesn’t necessarily guarantee approved funding. Citing the company’s obligation to provide a safe workplace may sway some decision makers, but unless the funding request was prompted by a near miss or a fall, you might be turned down. The better strategy is demonstrating how the fall protection project aligns with your company’s core business values. Each organization is different, but most share some (or all) of the following core values:

  • Profitability
  • Productivity
  • Risk Management
  • Loss Prevention
  • Employee Retention
  • Cost Containment
  • Shareholder Value

So rather than selling your management team on the notion that “we need fall protection to ensure OSHA compliance” or “installing a new system is the right thing to do,” you need to demonstrate how the proposed investment supports the core values. If you need help, start by asking some questions to frame your funding request in a manner that mkaes sense to those with control of the organization’s purse strings:

  • Might an unsafe workplace cause key employees to seek work elsewhere?  What is the cost of increased turnover?
  • Would the financial burden of huge civil penalties, hospital and rehabilitation costs, and rising workman’s compensation premiums that result from a fall make our products more expensive?
  • How might a reputation as an unsafe company impact our stock valuation?
  • Would a catastrophic accident with over a million dollars in hospitalization costs have a detrimental effect on profitability? How about a wrongful death suit?

Taking things a step further, you can tie specific measures of performance (e.g., the lost workday rate) to a business outcome (e.g., the cost associated with lost workdays, or the savings that come with reducing lost workdays).

Now ask yourself a question—which strategy is more likely to secure funding—chasing OSHA compliance compliance, or building a business case by aligning your fall protection project with the company’s core values?  If you have presented fall protection proposals in the past and funding request has fallen on deaf ears, mix it up and try a new approach.  You might be surprised by the results.

For those seeking additional strategies to present safety funding requests, check out the video of Paul O’Neill below.  The former CEO of Alcoa puts it best–“It’s all about safety.”

If you have questions about fall protection or need to discuss an application, contact the safety experts at Diversified Fall Protection for further assistance.

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