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How to Make the Business Case for an Investment in Workplace Safety

Toby Graham /
Road Construction Safety Reflector Flasher

How much is a human life worth?

It’s an impossible question—and yet workplace health and safety are asked to answer it all the time. Organizations of all industries, regions, and sizes struggle to connect worker well-being to “the bottom line.” 

EHS and financial performance seem to exist in opposition: every investment in keeping people safe is money that could have been spent improving processes and outcomes elsewhere.

Most of us know that this is BS, of course. But as Jana Gessner, VP of EHS at PepsiCo, told the audience at EHS Today’s 2019 Safety Leadership Conference, many safety professionals haven’t learned how to translate their work into executive-ese: “You have to simplify the agenda to senior management, and that means tying the agenda into the costs of managing safety. We need to be able to show the link between what we’re doing and overall costs to the company.”

Gessner and others were quoted in a recent EHS Today article exploring the issue. If you missed SLC 2019, or would like a refresher, the piece is a must-read—chock-full of tips about how to make the financial case for a safety program. 

For instance, here are a few quick statistics about the ROI of safety—definitely worth sharing with your higher-ups:

  • Workplace injuries cost businesses over $161 billion per year.
  • Companies with safety programs can reduce expenses related to injuries and illnesses by 40%.
  • Every dollar spent on safety can save three times as much. 

Read “You Can’t Put a Price on Safety, but Do It Anyway.”

To see how much your organization could save by investing in safety, use this ROI calculator.

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