Eliminating or reducing risk of injury or illness in the workplace is critical to maintaining a safe and healthful environment. It is already known that the most beneficial risk-reduction solutions are implemented according to Prevention through Design (PtD) hierarchy of controls (ANSI/ASSE Z590.3-2011). This project examined existing hazards and determined, through visual observations and sampling results at hand-welding stations, that most welding fumes are not captured using the current strategies. While various alternative solutions were identified and evaluated, a new engineering control was implemented, representing a higher level on the PtD hierarchy of control of any current risk-reduction strategies. These engineering controls reduced the risk of Hexavalent Chromium (Cr VI) exposure to welders in an exhaust tailpipe and muffler assembly facility. The ergonomic risks were also addressed. The project ended by determining the business case associated with that solution or, more succinctly, "what was the value to the company for implementing this solution."
What Is the SH&E Business Case?
A business case in occupational safety and health can be defined as a structured method used to justify a project (intervention or solution) for decision-makers. It captures the effects of implementing programs or activities on employee health (injury or illness), hazards present, risk level, risk management, and the business process. The effects include customary financial business metrics, such as net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR), return on investment (ROI), and payback period (PbP), which are meaningful to business management. The effects also include non-financial measures, those that cannot be directly or easily monetized, such as changes in customer satisfaction, corporate social responsibility, product defects, presenteeism, turnover rate, process cycle efficiency (PCE), and corporate reputation. Finally, the business case presents the health and business risk analysis by explaining opportunities, threats, strengths, and weaknesses associated with identified hazards. In reality, the business case answers the question: What's in it for the company?