Every employee has the right to work in a healthy and safe environment. Neither employees nor their families should have to suffer because of dangers in the workplace. Personnel safety should be the top priority for every organization. With a good OSH (Occupational Safety and Health) program in place, organizations protect their personnel as well as themselves.
When OSH is neglected, everyone suffers, from individual workers and companies to the national health system. But with better practices and policies, everyone can benefit.
The Payne Enterprises Case
This April, the body of Dalbert Burton, a worker at a residential construction site, was recovered from a deep trench that collapsed while he was working. The incident was immediately investigated by OSHA, which discovered many safety violations. As a result, Payne Enterprises was fined $145,860.
The investigation shows that the tragedy could have been prevented if OSHA’s safety standards and practices against trenching hazards had been followed. According to OSHA regulations, employers are required to shield and slope trench walls to prevent cave-ins.
Payne Enterprises had already received two violations for:
- Not installing a proper protective system to prevent the trench collapse
- Not having a professional inspect the trench before allowing workers to enter.
Financial Repercussions for Failing to Comply with OSHA’s Safety Regulations
The example of Payne Enterprises shows us how a company could easily run into financial trouble for failing to follow specific guidelines in creating safe workplaces. To keep the workplace safe, organizations need to make some financial investments. The problem is that many companies try to circumvent the regulations and invest their money somewhere else. But by following regulations and ensuring the organization avoids lawsuits and settlement payments, this investment pays for itself.
A young company or one that's dealing with a hefty lawsuit could fall into serious financial trouble because it doesn’t have the funds to continue the operations. Also, keeping staff healthy pays off because the company will avoid higher insurance premiums.
Costs to a Business Due to Injuries, Illnesses, or Death
For every dollar spent on a health and safety program, employers can save even more because having a safe and healthy workplace:
- Protects workers from illness, injury, and death
- Lowers illness and injury costs
- Increases quality and productivity
- Reduces turnover and absenteeism
- Raises employee morale.
For a business, an injury or illness can mean more financial costs that may include:
- Wages for work not performed
- Production losses
- Decline in worker morale and product quality
- Increased compensation for insurance costs
- Hiring/training new personnel
- Lost work time and high turnover
- Damage to machinery or equipment.
The cost of workers compensation insurance is far lower than the cost of workplace illness, injuries, and deaths. When it comes to these costs, insurance is only the tip of the iceberg. A comprehensive OSH program can improve the work environment, reduce compensation insurance rates, and reduce overall injury expenses.
Safety pays off for everybody. Quality personnel want to work in a safe and healthy workplace, which is an asset to a business that will be able to operate more efficiently. We can see that the cost of an injury is far greater than the cost of injury prevention, and it can help any organization enjoy a healthy bottom line.