Workplace Safety

Key takeways

For an analysis to cover this topic:

  1. The company should be part of a ‘dangerous’ industry so that the topic is relevant.

  2. The data needs to be available (and go beyond injury rates) and the impact should be significant.

  3. You should prioritize external impact.

  4. Finally, you should provide some context and a critical assessment of the metrics.

What is it?

Workplace safety describes the working environment at a company and encompasses all factors that impact the safety, health, and well-being of employees. This can include environmental hazards, unsafe working conditions or processes, workplace violence, chemical contamination, etc.


SDG choice

✅ SDG 3

✅ SDG 8

Impact assessment

Workplace safety is a topic worth discussing due to companies' responsibility to provide a safe and healthy work environment. However, we must prioritize the most critical topics that show where the company is having the most significant impact. It is important to mention that this priority has to do with the scale of the impact, how recent it is and how a company's mission, products and services are impacting society and the environment. This last point means looking at their external impact first (workplace safety is an internal impact). 

For this topic to be published, the following must be accomplished:

1. You need to show the company is in a “dangerous” industry (e.g. auto manufacturing, mining, oil extraction, food processing, etc.) This is what will determine if this is a relevant topic to be published.

2. There needs to be enough data available (how many people were affected, number of incidences, severity, etc.). Make sure that these figures are significant. The injury rate (e.g. LTIFR and TRIFR ) is not enough to determine the impact as it does not help to show what is really going on, such as the gravity of the injuries or illnesses. These metrics only gives the reader of an idea of the year-on-year changes and comparison to the industry average in a superficial manner. Even as a reader, we do not really understand how the calculations are made nor are they insightful as we don’t know the nature of the employment, what their contracts are, etc.

3. Try to go beyond the company’s internal impact by looking at their supply chain, for example. This is in line with prioritizing external vs the internal impact. Oftentimes this is where the most critical and significant outcomes/impact can be found.

4. You should make a critical assessment and not just report numbers found in the report without contextualizing them. Instead of focusing on year on year progress and reduction (this is leading to remediation), it is best to focus on 2020 data (current impact), mention the types of injuries/deaths, analyse the health/psychological impact on employees, and compare the company’s data to the industry average. You can look at whether the company has a poor track record or if it has been sanctioned for overlooking workplace safety regulations, but you should focus on the current impact.

Ensure you add value to your readers and go beyond the company’s CSR report by not merely reporting data from the company’s report, but going the extra mile of providing additional metrics, studies, and sources to make your analysis robust and the impact value and scale are clear.

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