What’s the True ROI of Digital Signage Promoting Workplace Safety? (Hint: It’s Huge)

marlin-kenna-blog-iceberg-330By Frank Kenna
President and CEO, The Marlin Company

I’ve often written about the ROI of using digital signage for effective workplace communications and how it’s dripping with cost savings, but today I want to focus on an issue that concerns most of our customers: safety.

Safety ROI can be broken down into two primary segments, visible and non visible. The graphic above, based on DuPont’s efforts as written about here, uses an iceberg to illustrate those segments. The list above the water’s surface represent the immediate ramifications and related costs of poor safety. The items below are the ones often overlooked, but nonetheless very real.

One way of monetizing these differences is by looking at how the National Safety Council does it. They break down the costs into “economic” and “comprehensive” costs, similar to the iceberg concept, with the economic costs including the direct costs and the comprehensive ones including what people would actually pay for better safety (beyond the direct costs). The NSC says that these are what people actually pay to reduce their safety and health risks. According to their 2012 report, the cost difference of a non-fatal disabling injury between the two methods is $78,000 versus $230,000.

The visible — or tip-of-the-iceberg — cost savings include medical costs, wage indemnity (lost wages paid to injured workers) and claims fees. The ones lurking beneath the surface include litigation, schedule delays, reputation damage, lost productivity and replacement labor.

But regardless of how you figure it, the cost savings associated with safer work environments are huge. Repetitive and engaging communications about safe practices are key.

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Like I said at the top, safety is just one of many cost-savings areas for calculating workplace communications ROI. I truly believe, through decades of experience, testimonials and observation that the overall ROI is in the 100s or 1000s of percents. Here’s a tidbit of information that may drive the point home: According to the NSC report, even a reported injury that turns out to be no injury has an average cost of $2,500.

Whether it’s the $2,500 figure on the low end, or the cost of a workplace death of $4.5 million on the high end, the cost savings of better safety communications alone would easily justify any reasonable communications system expenditure. When adding in the other big issues such as productivity, quality, engagement, morale and teamwork, it’s a total no-brainier.

This column has been reprinted with permission from the Digital Screenmedia Association and originally appeared here.