In 2002, a new owner took over Cougar Automation and brought with him a fresh mindset and approach to health and safety. Previously, Cougar’s safety record appeared to be okay; but while there had been no reportable incidences, there were many near misses and a high rate of workplace stress. Changes were needed to improve performance, reduce costs, and prevent the unthinkable from occurring.
As in many cases when health and safety improvements are made, the benefits were wide ranging and built upon each other, all working to lift the company’s bottom line.
As the first step of the new safety initiative, the Regional Manager became responsible for health and safety training, demonstrating the new focus to the workforce. The Operations Director completed a health and safety course and set about overhauling systems and procedures.
By bringing health and safety expertise in-house, Cougar reduced their overhead costs and produced a user-friendly system tailored specifically to their business. This personalised system and the involvement of management demonstrated to the Cougar team that the directors believed in keeping them healthy and safe and were not just paying lip service to legal requirements.
Company morale vastly improved as a result. Employees now believe that issues raised by them will be acted upon and investigated. Staff are empowered to act on health and safety concerns. The ongoing training programmes have raised employee awareness and knowledge of health and safety. They now take responsibility and are accountable for their own and colleagues’ actions. The resulting cost savings and improved health and safety have helped to secure the long term financial viability of the company.
In-house safety improvements included:
The financial benefits to Cougar included:
This range of cost benefits came at a relatively small price: the time and initial training are estimated to have cost just $3,500.
In 2004, Cougar’s safety efforts and achievements were recognised with a Gold Award from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). The following year, they again had honours bestowed upon them, with another Gold Award from RoSPA and a high commendation from the Norwich Union.
These prestigious awards raised Cougar’s profile and set them apart from the competition. Large companies now have confidence in Cougar and the services they provide.
Investment in safety really does pay dividends.