Business Disruptions on Oak, Maple and Pine Streets

Most of us like trees.  Here in New England, we particularly enjoy them during the changing-of-colors Fall foliage season.  Might the price of that appreciation, particularly in our business and residential sections however, simply be too high?  After doing our best to deal with a full two business day power outage here at the Central/Western Massachusetts gateway due to an extremely unusual Halloween weekend Nor’easter, that question arises.

It is widely acknowledged that the cost of taking power lines underground is an exorbitantly priced luxury which still holds drawbacks.  Is it time to consider a much more aggressive approach to what seems to be the primary problem?  This would appear to be our heavily tree lined streets, roads and highways.  Downed tree and limb damage to power, phone and cable lines, as well as personal property, is staggering.  The time and cost involved with recovery is huge.

Though we may love the look, is it time to concede the seemingly obvious?  Major tree pruning and removal operations could be the only real answer.  This too would be another very expensive, involved, and environmentally and aesthetically disturbing, yet perhaps essential, undertaking.

In economic terms, the multiplier effect refers to the proportional increase or decrease in final income that results from an injection or withdrawal of capital. In terms of Safety Reward Programs, the multiplier effect might refer to the ROI² (Return on Incentive Investment). A properly structured program significantly impacts overall employee engagement and safety culture, where employees are attuned to safety-related issues, inspired to display “Above & Beyond” safe behaviors, willing to be safety ambassadors, and encouraged to promote learning and support continuous improvement. Such best-in-class programs are designed to promote group objectives and reward individual behavior, engaging, motivating, and rewarding the people behind your success.

Fortunately, there are thousands of companies in high-risk industries that have excellent safety programming, training, and coaching in place. Many include safety in their list of core values and have invested heavily in EHS (Environment, Health, and Safety) technology, training, telematics, and personnel. However, too many miss the opportunity to incentivize and recognize individual safety contributions, behaviors, and performance.

Programs featuring tangible and experiential awards as the reward currency can have a multiplying effect that pays dividends. Benefits include a more highly engaged workforce, fewer accidents and incidents, reduced claims and losses, lower turnover and absenteeism, better communication, increased productivity, visibility to leading and lagging indicators, incremental coaching and training opportunities, and improved profitability.

So, what’s the rub? Are engagement programs focused on employee safety, health, and wellness expensive to implement? Do they only make sense for companies with thousands of safety-sensitive workers? The answer to both questions is no. Properly structured programs can be cost-effective and right-sized for companies with as few as 100 safety-sensitive workers up to those with 10,000 or more. The ROI² of these programs can be expressed as a ratio (in this case, 4:1), with quantitative results showing a savings of $4.00 for every $1.00 invested and qualitative results revealing higher employee morale, which serves as a catalyst for productivity. Safety Reward Programs help to mitigate risk, elevate employee engagement, and improve overall safety culture. They also present an excellent opportunity for companies to simply say thank you to their employees for being safe, committed, and engaged.

People have an inherent need to know that their efforts do not go unnoticed. Safety Reward Programs provide the stimulus and energy that encourage employees to perform at their best and achieve new heights.



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