How to make safety profitable.

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Uncertainty is expensive.


When construction workers are uncertain how to perform safely, they either work slowly or get hurt.



Often both.

Rarely neither.



When estimators are uncertain how to price the work, they either make assumptions or compensate for the risk with additional cost.



Often both.

Rarely neither.



When speed is required, uncertainty follows.

Hence the immutable construction credo: Speed, Quality and Price… Pick two.



Uncertainty is expensive.


This same rule applies to Safety – especially to the salesmanship of Safety.


Mark Briggs, Vice President of Safety Management Resources Corporation, spoke on this topic at the Chicago Builders Association’s Safety Awards luncheon last week.



He spoke about making Safety a profit center.

He spoke about getting safety into the C-Suite.


Consider… has there ever been a meaningful executive strategy session without the head of sales?





Sales drive the business.

Any business.


Has there ever been a meaningful executive strategy session without the head of safety?



There was probably one yesterday.



Safety – like everything else – needs to be sold.

Unfortunately, the term “salesman” conjures up images of slick used-car-salesmen with gold-rimmed smiles.



That’s too bad.

You can’t be afraid of sales.

We’re all selling something.


Sales is communication.

It’s a clear, articulate expression of value to the organization, to the Client.


Briggs recommended a “Safety Wow Packet.” An organized collection of your safety efforts and its impact on the business. It’s a packet of all the things you are doing right to limit losses.



It’s a sales brochure.



Briggs urged the audience to plan for the annual underwriting dance.

“90 days in advance, show the underwriters your Safety Wow Packet…”

(Note: the planning negates the need for speed…)


“Because if the underwriters don’t know what you’re doing, they will charge you more.”


It’s fairly compelling testimony. Briggs has been pricing risk for over 30 years for insurance companies, a pair of Big 10 schools, construction firms and general industry.



Your EMR doesn’t tell the whole story,” he said.

YOU have to tell your whole story.


Underwriters are in construction too. They are like construction workers and estimators. In the absence of certainty, they fill the void with additional premium to decrease their risk.



Uncertainty is expensive.



To make safety profitable, the best firms either put their best salesmen in safety or put their safety team through sales training.



Often both.

Rarely neither.




Bradley Hartmann is founder and El Presidente at Red Angle (, a training and consulting firm bridging the English-Spanish (and a bit of Polish…) language gap in the construction industry.

To check out our Safety Spanish program for yourself, click here:


Categories: Jobsite Leadership

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