Companies using safety to improve productivity, profitability

A survey from LNS Research finds companies are using safety to improve productivity and profitability as well as mitigate risks. The study also found there are plenty of areas for companies to improve.
By Gregory Hale December 1, 2018
Courtesy: Bob Vavra, CFE Media

According to a survey by LNS Research, industrial companies are using safety to not only mitigate risks but also to improve productivity and profitability. Organizations are using the three core elements of safety maturity–safety culture, procedures and technologies–to avoid safety incidents and improve business performance. In addition, risk management increasingly includes safety and security risks.

From a culture standpoint, the survey found organizations in which environment, health, and safety (EHS), operations, and engineering collaborated to improve safety reported a median incident rate 15% lower than those that didn’t collaborate this way. Organizations with cross-functional safety collaboration also reported a 12% better on-time delivery performance.

On the technology side, 75% of industrial companies said they have seen operational improvements resulting from the use of advanced safety technology. Similarly, 60% of respondents said they have seen financial improvements resulting from the use of advanced safety technology.

“The LNS Research survey shows that best-in-class manufacturers are making industrial safety a pathway to operational excellence,” said Lee Lane, vice president, safety, sensing and connectivity at Rockwell Automation. “These top performers use contemporary safety technologies, make safety a company-wide value and use standard processes to design safety and productivity into machinery.”

In 2013, Rockwell Automation introduced the Safety Maturity Index for end users to measure and improve safety performance. Rockwell Automation also introduced a version for machine builders to help them create machines that are productive and comply with modern safety standards.

The LNS Survey results also support original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) building safer machines. Twenty percent of respondents said they are willing to pay a premium for increased safety performance.

Survey finds areas where companies can still improve safety

While the LNS Research survey results confirm industrial companies are improving safety maturity, they also identify areas where manufacturers are falling short.

Culture: About half of respondents (49%) claim safety is viewed as a core value across all levels of their organization. However, only 19% said their organization has C-level commitment to make the necessary investments in safety. This disconnect indicates many companies do not have a culture that fully supports safety measures.

Additionally, only one in four respondents said their EHS, operations, and engineering teams effectively collaborate to improve all safety aspects.

Technologies: Almost half of respondents (49%) said top challenges to improving EHS performance included disparate systems and data sources. Meanwhile, almost two-thirds (64%) said they have not implemented dedicated EHS software. This indicates there is a big opportunity for companies to use modern information-management technology to better manage their safety performance.

Only 24% said they use lockout/tagout (LOTO) alternatives to improve operational performance. Even fewer (11%) said their organization is using industrial IoT technologies to holistically manage operations and safety. However, 20% said they will start using Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies this way in the next 12 months, and 17% said they will require that new equipment be smart and connected within that same time period.

Procedures: Widely adopted standards call for a lifecycle approach to risk management. This can help companies address risks in their equipment and production from the initial design to retirement. However, only 28% of respondents said they use such an approach; only 27% said they use a lifecycle approach to safety system management.

Gregory Hale is the editor and founder of Industrial Safety and Security Source (, a news and information website covering safety and security issues in the manufacturing automation sector. This content originally appeared on ISSSource is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media,

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Gregory Hale
Author Bio: Gregory Hale is the editor and founder of Industrial Safety and Security Source (, a news and information website covering safety and security issues in the manufacturing automation sector.