Craft a Compelling Business Case for Safety Tech in 5 Steps

Marla Corson, PhD, CSP

April 17, 2024

Secure buy-in for safety technology and initiatives with 5 expert tips from a seasoned EHS leader who's navigated the challenges at major corporations.

It’s a story we’re all familiar with – you find an amazing new solution or tool to help your company stay safe, sustainable and compliant. You're excited and see the potential to decrease incidents and improve safety standards and outcomes, but not everyone shares your focus on safety or immediately grasps the impact that your proposed solution will have.

I completely understand the struggle. After leading EHS teams at Amazon, Nestle Waters and Alcoa, I’ve learned a few tricks to getting buy-in for new safety initiatives, especially for new technology like AI safety platforms. 

Here are 5 tips any safety leader can use to make the business case for safety tech, or anything else you need!

1. Identify and organize your stakeholders

I always start by identifying the stakeholders. Who needs to give their sign-off? What do you need from them? What do they need from you?

Key stakeholders to keep in mind include, but are not limited to:

  • the general manager, site leader, or operations leader
  • the people experience and/or human resources leader
  • head of IT and security 
  • legal 
  • procurement leader
  • safety-minded associates and supervisors 

Think holistically – this is about finding ways to bring people together, get buy-in and organize them around a safety-focused project. Large scale change like this requires finding people all across the organization that have some stake in the outcomes you’re looking for. 

2. Understand their goals

After you’ve identified your stakeholders, you can move on to identifying and addressing their goals. Always remember to share what is in it for others – the reality in my opinion, is that everyone wants to know, “What’s in it for me?” and then, “What is in it for the organization?”. Make sure you address both of these questions as you present your idea.

In order to talk to someone about what’s in it for them, you have to first identify and understand their goals. Before you meet with someone, consider: 

  • Their role
  • The KPIs they’re responsible for
  • Their day-to-day responsibilities 
  • How your proposed solution helps them reach their goals, even if they’re not safety-specific

When you meet with your stakeholder – whether it’s your boss, their boss or a department head, or individuals performing a task – share your understanding of their goals and ask for validation. Listen to what they say and structure your plan accordingly. 

3. Share your plan  

After you’ve crafted a plan that addresses their needs and goals, you’re ready to share with the cohort that you built in step two. In order to organize this group around the change you’d like to drive, I recommend building a Mechanism, a framework I learned during my time at Amazon. 

One of my favorite quotes is from Jeff Bezos: “Good intentions never work, you need good mechanisms to make anything happen.” As Jeff explains, “What this means is that you have to replace human best efforts with repeatable, scalable processes and tools, which are often automated, to achieve the desired outcome. A mechanism is a complete process where you create a tool, drive adoption of the tool, and inspect the results in order to make course corrections. It is a “virtuous cycle” that reinforces and improves itself as it operates. It takes controllable inputs and transforms them into ongoing outputs to address a recurring business challenge.”

 This framework has three key parts: the tool, adoption and inspection. 

The Tool 

This is where you define and describe the safety technology or resourceful tool that you’ve selected. You’ll tell your colleagues how this solution will impact the goals they shared in the step above, why you chose this solution, and how you think it will benefit the organization. 


This is where you consider how you’ll achieve adoption. You’ll consider: 

  • Who is responsible for helping drive adoption both formally and informally
  • What kind of incentives you’ll offer 
  • What kind of change your proposed solutions is meant to drive
  • How adoption will be measured

Safety professionals and all other critical leaders need to know and see that the tool is being adopted and whether it is driving the anticipated change. They want to know what kind of effort will be required and if it will be worth their time. Identify how to measure adoption, not just the end output.


This step often happens as the project is being implemented and after the project is fully implemented, but it’s helpful to spell out exactly how you’ll optimize and tweak your solution based on feedback and results throughout the process. 

4. Listen to and address their concerns

A critical aspect of the framework above is to listen to and address concerns from across the organization. As you sit with your stakeholders and lay out your plan, it’s also important to leave time for their feedback and address it transparently. 

One of the most common concerns that I’ve heard is about the use of AI. There’s a misunderstanding of what AI is and how it will be used. Some people might think it’s “big brother” technology being put in place to reprimand people. I recommend having some talking points on hand to proactively educate your team in small one-on-one conversations as well as larger all-hands meetings. 

Here are some things that I recommend including in your talking points: 

  • Say what it is, and what it isn’t. Voxel is risk recognition that helps identify ways to keep people safe. It’s not facial recognition or a tool to fire people. 
  • Talk about the positive changes you have planned. This might include new incentives. 
  • Be specific about how this will impact the workers, the supervisors and the overall organization. 

5. Optimize your plan 

As you hear and address feedback, you will identify optimizations to your plan. Some ideas might include: 

  • Write specific policies that refer to the use of AI and safety tech
  • Develop training videos and documentation that proactively address the technology and how it will be used. 
  • Create positive reinforcement and incentives to drive positive safety behavior


Making the business case for your new solution isn’t easy, and it’s certainly not something they teach you in school. However, learning to work cross-functionally, understand organizational goals and  establish a plan that meets everyone's needs is critical to your success as a safety professional.

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