Organizations spend millions of dollars annually on safety programs, but how can we know if we are putting effort into the most useful programs? As new initiatives or improvements to existing programs are considered, it is important to consider effort versus reward (i.e., the organization’s return on their safety investment). Such information would allow organizations to strategically design safety programs with the greatest overall impact when resources are inevitably limited. A methodology to compute return on investment, and example case studies could improve how organizations invest in safety and transform the function from a budget-oriented to a value-adding function.
This study will explore the extent to which emerging methods from economics, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare can be adapted to construction safety. This inquiry will address fundamental questions like: How do we isolate and measure the impact of a safety intervention? and How do we measure our monetary and non-monetary return on investment? This project is a bold step forward, challenging the long-standing assumption that safety impact cannot be assessed objectively. The findings could transform safety-related business decisions and enable more effective use of limited resources.