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It’s that time of year again: budget season. Which means it’s time to do your least favorite thing: justifying your safety budget to your boss.
It isn’t that your boss doesn’t support safety. It’s just that your boss doesn’t want safety to cost so much. And it’s your job to show your boss why the cost is worth it.
What does safety training cost per employee? And how do you justify the cost to your boss? Here’s what EHS teams should know.
The short answer: it depends.
According to Training Magazine‘s 2020 Industry Report, the average company spend $1,111 on training per employee in 2020, which is $175 less than in 2019. This can be explained somewhat by the shift to remote and online work.
However, the numbers get more nuanced when you break them down.
Small companies (100 to 999 employees) actually increased their training expenditures from $1,511 in 2019 to $1,678 in 2020. Mid-size companies (1,000 to 9,999 employees) decreased their training spending by 30%, from $829 in 2019 to $581 in 2020. Large companies (10,000+ employees) decreased their training costs by 40%, from $1,544 in 2019 to $924 in 2020.
The decrease is largely to the credit of 2020–layoffs and furloughs meant mid-size and large companies had fewer employees to train, offset by increased spending on outside products to adapt to the remote work era. Keep in mind that mid-size and large companies invest as much as 2% to 5% of salary budgets back into training.
Small companies can’t afford that output, but they still spent the most on training per employee. This is likely because small businesses have to make the most of the employees they can afford.
What about the cost of safety training? Again, it depends.
A Safety+Health survey of training expenditures among the magazine’s subscribers found that 24% of respondents spent less than $5,000 on total safety expenditure, 21% spent between $10,000 and $24,000, and 20% spent between $5,000 and $10,000.
On average, 44% of respondents spent less than $200 per employee on safety training, $26% spent $200 to $499 per employee, and 12% spent $500 to $999. Bearing in mind that the majority of survey respondents count as small companies (in fact, the largest group of respondents had 100 to 299 employees) this paints an interesting picture. Small companies seem to spend more per employee, despite having a narrower budget.
This brings us back to the central question: how do you justify the cost of safety training to your boss?
For one thing, look at the numbers. A single fatal injury can cost as much as $3 million on the low end, accounting for direct and indirect costs. But non-fatal injuries happen more often than fatal ones, and workplaces spend more than $1 billion per week on non-fatal injuries.
For another, look at the silent costs of non-safety. Low morale. Increased sick time. Lower productivity. Poor employee retention.
In short, lack of safety is a drain on your company in every sense. Investing in safety helps you avoid those costs and actually build more money into your profits in the future.
What does safety training cost per employee? In short, it’s not cheap, but it is worth it. Especially if you have a strong safety training program.
Our safety training software is designed by safety professionals, for safety professionals. We make it easy to deliver essential training programs when you need them the most, track employee progress, and test retention. So if you’re ready for training you can trust to deliver ROI, get in touch to learn how our software can strengthen your safety training.
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