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A better safety training by implementing Return on Prevention (ROP)


The main objective of the presented research was to improve safety training- as it is done using modern methods like e-learning, through the usage of the Return on Prevention (ROP) principle. ROP could guide towards the specific points where more training or specific training is needed.  


A method was developed in this respect. The method includes the following principle- Identify ROP key points (for example the need for PPE)- document ROP key points – present ROP key points to the workers- receive and process feedback- develop better training material- re-train and evaluate resulting ROP.
The method developed in order to estimate a global/specific ROP is sketched below.
The key performance indicator “Return on Prevention” (ROP) is an abstract representation of the potential economic success of occupational safety and health.[i].
ROP could be considered as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) - is an abstract representation of the potential economic success of occupational safety and health.
The original (ISSA) methodology was based on sampled populations and interviews. However, an enterprise is interested to have a ROP system that would give some indications about how money is spent- for the enterprise as a holistic unit. A draft methodology is proposed in the following steps.
1. Using the financial and operational data from the previous year, establish an approximate cumulative loss figure (Cl) for the last year. In establishing this figure you must consider:
1.1. The registered loss that could be attributed to operational risks (for example, not include some unpaid bills that have no connexion with your productive or services activity- you have delivered  the goods or services but are not paid yet).
             1.2. The reported incidents and accidents registered last year – including specific points that   would be taken into consideration in the training process;
1.3. Cost of the reported incidents and accidents – if such costs are not declared at 1.1 (for example the medical costs are generally not included there)
2. Define safety cost indicators that could be included into a financial balance and register them – or clone them separately in a ROP register. Examples of such indicators are given in the table below. Calculate a Cumulative Safety figure (Cs) - as a reference- for the last year- or for the reference year when you are starting ROP implementation
3. Define loss cost indicators that could be connected to occupational risk and implicit to safety.
4. Compute ROP reference= ∑Loss control indicators/∑Safety control indicators or ROP= Cl-Cs (going on the ISSA definition).
5. Analyse how loss control indicators are reduced in a year time by the investment in safety
6. Calculate 
ROP 1= ∑Loss control indicators 1/∑Safety control indicators
ROPi <=ROP reference 
ROP reference= ∑Loss control indicators/∑Safety control indicators
7. Analyze ROP i= ROP 1...ROP n on shorter periods (half a year, quarter of a year). ROP i should grow towards ROP reference when all the loss control is eliminated by the safety costs.
8. Calculate ROP PPE, ROP Training, ROP management in order to see which safety costs could more efficiently reduce losses.
In doing the ROP methodology the term ∑Safety control indicators should be considerated constant- the one evaluated for the first year of analysis- so that we could have a ROP as a reference like loss costs covered by safety.
 Using Generalized Extreme Value Distribution and also the Hazard Function there could be analysed comparatively the data resulted from ROP.


Implementation and testing of this method was made in two enterprises inside Bucharest in a larger, Six Sigma implementation context. The result was satisfactory, showing that:
1. ROP could improve training and also could improve workers commitment. Explained properly to the workers, ROP would be pursued by them and also they would accept more easily the training programme.
2. At this moment, the implementation was done just for large enterprises. However, it should be used mainly in SME- taking into consideration that activities inside SME could change very quickly in order to be competitive on the market.
3. The developed method could be integrated well with the Six Sigma context, serving as a Six Sigma booster.


Commitment of the worker towards a better safety is a very important step in achieving a better safety. In this respect, the solution assures:
-an integration of the quantitative aspects into the training process that could be a game changer in the safety training- taking into account that the worker is understanding why the efforts for safety improvement;
-a better safety training;
-the improvement of safety culture.

[i] ISSA (2011), Research report-The return on prevention:Calculating the costs and benefits of investments in occupational safety and health in companies


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