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The Guardian Fall Team Blog

With the holidays fast approaching, everyone strives to find the perfect gift for their close family and friends. Some people are meticulous and will stick to a strict overall budget, while some will go even further and set a budget for each and every one of their loved ones.

Retailers are fully aware that some people are just looking for a one dollar ornament for a distant aunt, while others are looking for something as expensive as a new car for their significant other. This wide range of buyers allows for retailers to sell low-end products, high-end products, and everything in between.

Safety systems do actually have some similarities to holiday shopping, in that, money can equate to a more effective system when applied correctly. In the world of safety, any sensible buyer desires two things: the safest system for their job site and the lowest possible price for said system. But sometimes ‘sticker shock’ gets the best of us and leads us to opt for alternatives we did not originally consider.

What is sticker shock you ask? Sticker shock is when you identify something you need and assume that it costs a certain (reasonable) amount, only to find that the cost was much more than you originally anticipated. For example, I recently went to purchase a new helicopter drone toy that my 7-year-old nephew wanted for Christmas. I assumed that the drone would cost around $50 and was shocked to find that this toy cost over $200! And so, I opted for a less expensive Lego set; still disappointed that the toy I wanted to purchase was above my price range.

The same holds true for safety, particularly with installed fall protection systems.

When we think of fall protection systems, we tend to think of the products that compose the system and the costs affiliated with those parts. Giving the system a much lower price tag than what we typically see on the market. Why is that?

Other related items, such as product engineering and design, site inspection, testing, installation, waterproofing, and shipping can be typically overlooked. Leading to a price tag, we weren’t really expecting to see. In fact, many fall protection system proposals actually have more costs associated with these other related items than the product itself!

At ESG, estimating system costs is made simple by applying common factors to systems per lineal foot or quantity and can be communicated from the onset of looking for a particular solution.

For example, let’s say it is determined that the safest and most effective solution for a particular client’s job site is to install 1,000 lineal feet of guardrail. If the guardrail were a Guardian G-Rail, the retail price would typically cost roughly $45 per lineal foot; meaning the cost of the product would be $45,000.

As the G-rail is a weighted system, installation would cost very little; but the 6.5 tons of product still needs to be shipped to the roof and assembled in a safe fashion. Now, in consideration of the additional fees associated with installation, shipping, and engineering for a particular system, a price tag of $70,000 would be quite reasonable.

At this point, the client has to ask the question: do I want to get the helicopter drone or Lego set?

In the world of safety, a ‘Lego set’ can mean getting a product or a decent system that is not necessarily the best solution for the employees using it. With that being said, sometimes the cheapest solution may not be the most effective. The purchaser of the system should always be putting themselves in the shoes of the future worker.

As an example, what if the customer staring at the $70,000 guardrail quote elects to purchase a weighted roof cart instead at one-tenth the cost? A weighted roof cart is a safe and effective product that will protect workers, but it requires thorough training to be used properly.

When considering the costs associated with on-going training and the increased risk for employees on the job site, the initial price savings can lose its appeal rather quickly.

And so, you can cure sticker shock by taking the time to consider how each fall protection system will benefit and effect future workers. Ultimately, when it comes to safety, cost should really be the least of our worries when it comes to ensuring the wellbeing of the friends and co-workers that surround us.

From all of us here at ESG, we wish you and yours happy holidays! We hope to hear from you in the new year!