In the News: Safety programs save businesses money, OSHA study reveals

A new survey by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggests that employers can expect to see a return of 6 dollars for every one dollar that they invest in workplace health and safety programs. Further, the impact of such programs on smaller businesses is particularly profound because the costs associated with a single fatality or serious workplace injury could easily cause the company to close up shop.

According to OSHA, the business costs associated with occupational injuries is estimated at about $170 billion, with all of that money coming straight out of company profits. The agency notes that when workers stay safe and healthy, the direct monetary savings to employers include:
•Lower workers’ compensation costs
•Reduced medical expenditures
•Less spending on return-to-work programs
•Fewer faulty products
•Lower costs for job accommodations for injured workers
•Less spending on overtime benefits

Further, businesses with safe and healthy employees can also enjoy:
•Increased productivity
•Better employee morale
•Improved labor/management relations
•Reduced worker turnover
•Better use of HR time and focus
•Less employee stress

To enjoy such benefits, OSHA suggests that a good workplace health and safety program emphasize prevention by addressing the specific types of accidents and exposures that could happen in your workplace. Specifically, the agency recommends that your plan address the following four essential elements:
1.Management commitment and employee involvement
2.Worksite analysis to identify existing and potential hazards
3.Implementation of hazard prevention and control methods
4.Training for employees, supervisors and managers to make sure everyone understands and addresses hazards.