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Making the Business Case for Safety and Health - Why Should I Care?

Why is safety and health important for me?

As an employer (or person representing the employer), you have a duty to protect your workers from injury and illness on the job. Protecting workers also makes good business sense. Accidents and injuries are more expensive than many realize. Costs mount up quickly. But substantial savings in workers’ compensation and lost workdays are possible when injuries and illness decline. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can help you.


Compliance with OSHA regulations is essential. Compliance along with an effective voluntary safety and health program can help reduce your costs and injuries and illnesses. An organized, carefully crafted plan that systematically focuses on workplace hazards and employee training is critical.


How can I reduce employee injuries and illnesses?

Buy-in from every manager and employee is essential. Everyone has to work at safety and health.

Each safety and health program should be tailored to fit the company, to blend with its unique operations and culture, and to help employers maintain a system that continually addresses workplace hazards.


How do I develop this program?

There are four elements that every effective program should have:


        management leadership and employee involvement,

        workplace analysis,

        hazard prevention and control, and

        safety and health training and education.


What do you mean by management commitment and employee involvement?

Employers and employees work together to make safety and health a priority.

For example, this partnership can be achieved when you:


        Post the company’s written safety and health policy for all to see

            Involve employees in policymaking on safety and health issues

        Take an active part in safety activities

            Hold meetings that focus on employee safety and health

            Abide by all safety and health rules

            Show your commitment by investing time, effort, and money in your safety and health program.


What’s a worksite analysis and how often do I have to do it?

A worksite analysis means that you and your employees analyze all worksite conditions to

identify and eliminate existing or potential hazards. This should be done on a regular

and timely basis. There should be a current hazard analysis for all jobs and processes

that all employees know and understand.


To do this, you could:


        Become aware of hazards in your industry

        Create safety teams

            Encourage employees to report workplace hazards

            Examine history of worksite conditions

            Have an adequate system for reporting hazards

            Have trained personnel conduct inspections of the worksite and correct hazards

            Ensure that any changes in process or new high-hazard facilities are reviewed by a competent person

            Seek assistance from safety and health experts.


What else do I need to know?

The next part of a good safety and health program means that you continually review your work environment and work practices to control or prevent workplace hazards. This can be done when you:


        Regularly and thoroughly maintain equipment


        Ensure that hazard correction procedures are in place


        Ensure that employees know how to use and maintain personal protective equipment


        Ensure that all employees understand and follow safe work procedures


        Make sure that, where necessary, you have a medical program tailored to your facility to help prevent workplace hazards and exposures.


It is important that everyone in the workplace be properly trained, from the floor worker to the supervisors, managers, contractors, and part-time and temporary employees. This can be done when you:


        Allow only properly authorized and instructed employees to do any job


        Make sure no employees do any job that appears unsafe


        Hold emergency preparedness drills for employees


        Pay particular attention to employees learning new operations to make sure they have the proper job skills and awareness of hazards


        Train supervisors and managers to recognize hazards and understand their responsibilities.


Case Studies: Good Examples of Cost Reduction Through Proactive Safety Programs

* On August 29, 2001, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company released a report titled: A Majority of U.S. Businesses Report Workplace Safety Delivers a Return on Investment. The Liberty Mutual survey shows 61 percent of executives say $3 or more is saved for each $1 invested in workplace safety.


* A coal mining company in Charleston West Virginia has attained a competitive advantage through investment in SH&E programs. The company claims its worker compensation rate is $1.28 per $100 in payroll as opposed to its competitor's rate of $13.78.


* Fall protection program implementation reduced one employer's accident costs by 96 percent - from $4.25 to $ 0.18 per person-hour


* Implementation of an consultation program reduced losses at a forklift manufacturing operation from $70,000 to $7,000 per year


* Implementation of an improved safety and health program reduced Servicemaster's worker's compensation costs by $2.4 million over a two-year period


OSHA's Office of Regulatory Analysis has stated: …our evidence suggests that companies that implement effective safety and health cans expect reductions of 20% or greater in their injury and illness rates and a return of $4 to $6 for every $1 invested...


Would you like to realize similar savings? To achieve these types of savings you must develop the following  six critical components of a successful health & safety program:


1. Employee Training

2. Written Health & Safety Programs

3. Injury & Illness Recordkeeping

4. Understanding of the OSHA regulations

5. Proactive site inspection

6. Displaying the OSHA poster


If you can complete these six components, you’ll be well on to way to compliance and a healthy & safe workplace!



The OSHA Advisor is giving our valued clients a FREE copy of the OSHA Navigator PRO compliance software!


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