Keeping a work environment that is safe and free from potential hazards not only makes sense in ensuring that your employees continue to be productive and happy, but it is cost effective and meets your legal obligations.
Losing manpower to injuries means hiring replacement workers who may have to be trained and are typically not as productive as your regular employees. It may also force you to pay overtime to other employees who may have to perform the work of the missing workers along with their own tasks.
Workers who feel that their work environment is safe will also keep absenteeism down and help keep your employees happy and eager to contribute to the success of your company. It may also attract better employees and allow you to keep your best workers if they feel that you have their best interests in mind.
A safe working environment means that safety training and procedures are followed and taken seriously resulting in lower insurance costs, workers’ compensation premiums and legal fees.
The federal OSHA act, or Occupational Safety and Health Act, requires employers to provide and maintain a safe working environment. Most states have similar or analogous laws regarding workplace safety.
For particular industries such as construction, agriculture or maritime, OSHA has particular standards pertaining to safety, which can be quite comprehensive and complex. Larger companies maintain their own human resources department to conduct regular safety meetings, trainings and to administer drug tests, especially if the company has commercial carriers involved in interstate commerce.
Along with keeping a safe workplace, OSHA and other regulatory agencies require certain employers to keep and maintain extensive records. You may also have to report injuries and violations, conduct investigations or allow OSHA investigators into your workplace. There are also reporting and posting requirements regarding injuries, illnesses, wage and hour laws, and in filing complaints.
Safety Makes Economic Sense
Cutting costs usually begins by cutting out safety programs and trainings since they seemingly do not directly contribute to company profits. Following this policy is usually a recipe for disaster and may be unlawful.
Finally, consumers do buy their goods from companies that treat their workers well and who take safety and its legal obligations seriously. An incident where workplace safety has been compromised resulting in injuries can quickly spread in print and online media and lead to boycotts of goods and substantial loss of customer goodwill.