The Cost of Safety
With our ever shrinking economy, everyone is trying to find places to cut costs. Consumers are looking to find cheaper service providers, and many companies have determined that their safety department is the first place to start making cuts. This is a scary trend. While I understand why companies would think that safety is a good place to start, I couldn’t disagree more with the concept. It takes years to see the benefits of a safety program. It also takes a pretty large financial commitment as well. However, when done right, the long term savings more than outweigh the costs.
A solid safety program is essential to both the company and the consumer. For the company:
1. You have happier and healthier employees
2. As your EMR goes down you see substantial savings on your insurance
3. Less injuries mean more productive time
4. Increased morale, lower labor costs, etc…
While all this looks great on a balance sheet and business model, in my field of business, it is even more essential. Electricians are subjected to highly dangerous conditions every day. And for me, it is all about making sure our team is safe, and gets to go home at the end of the day- unharmed. This requires a serious commitment to safety from the top down, and I am proud to be part of a company that truly sets the standard in the industry for safety. While this does add costs to my bottom line, in the long run the safety program saves lives and customer’s assets. Take a moment to think about it. If a plumber makes a mistake, things get wet, if an A/C company makes a mistake things get hot, but when an electrician makes a mistake, people die and property gets damaged. In my opinion it isn’t worth the risk.
The benefits of a solid Safety Program for the consumers:
1. Less risk of an accident on their property.
2. Less risk of loss to their assets.
3. Less risk of down time due to an accident.
4. Less risk of injury to personnel, customers, etc…
When a consumer makes sure that a service provider not only has a safety plan, but enforces, documents, and tracks the success of that plan, they are ensuring the safety and well being of their customer’s and their assets.
As service provider prices continue to drop, and service rates continue to fall, be sure to ask yourself; why is a specific provider so much cheaper? Consumers are looking for the best deal and not taking into account why the costs of one provider may be lower than another. Many times it is due to the qualifications of that provider and their team. Think of it like this, what are the chances that you can walk into a BMW dealership and purchase a 700 series for the price of a Chevy Aveo? Zero! The reason is that there are many more costs involved in building that 700 series BMW, than the Chevy Aveo. It isn’t anything against the Aveo, they are just simply not in the same class, one is a high performance luxury machine, and the other is an economy model. Where the difference applies here, is that when dealing with cars they both can get the job done, getting you from point “A” to point “B”. This is not true in the service provider industry.
As a consumer you need to make the determination of what risk is involved in using a lesser qualified service provider. The simple fact is that, if you need a professional service performed, then you should only consider using professional service providers. A professional will have a solid safety program, and only use licensed technicians.
The state has a process for determining who is and who is not a professional. It is called a “certificate of competency”, aka; a licensed technician or journeyman. There are reasons why the state mandates licensing for electricians, plumbers, and A/C technicians. Mainly this reason: these trades are not hobbies. It takes years of training and schooling to become a licensed technician in these fields, and you should only consider licensed technicians for your needs in these fields. While handymen and multiple trade service providers have their place, it is not in these specialized fields, and they should never work on electrical systems. NFPA 70E (National Fire Protection Agency: the authority on fire, electrical, and building safety) sets the guidelines for a “qualified person” in the electrical industry, and if you are not verifying the credentials of whom you employ to do your electrical work, then you could be liable, and in violation of this code.
Finally, even if after reading this, you still feel that you want to use unqualified people to work on your electrical systems, consider the following:
1. What would it cost me if my entire electrical system went down?
2. If parts were damaged, how available would the replacement parts be?
3. What would OSHA say if someone was injured? Am I at Fault?
4. Am I putting my customers or the general public at risk when this work is being performed?
Times are changing in the service provider industries and safety is a major part of these changes. Most companies are beginning to understand the huge liabilities that exist when hiring a service provider, and are starting to migrate towards the providers with proven safety programs, licensed professionals, and a focus on providing the customer with a quality solution from beginning to end. I am proud to say that M.C. Dean is one of these service providers, and I thank the thousands of customers we have, that truly understand the value of the service we provide.