Even though workplace injury and fatality numbers are lower than they used to be, they are still too high. In 2013, 4,585 workers were killed on the job. Before the Occupational Safety and Health Act passed in 1970, that number was more than three times higher, even though the workforce was about half the size. Workplace injuries and illnesses have dropped to almost a third of what they were in 1972.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace, so that their employees don’t suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. We’ve seen plenty of evidence that doing so isn’t just humane; it’s smart business. A safe and healthy workforce is a productive workforce, and companies managed for safety are more profitable than ones that aren’t. Employers that invest in workplace safety and health in turn see reduced fatalities, injuries and illnesses. This results in cost savings in a variety of areas, such as lowering workers’ compensation costs and medical expenses, OSHA penalties, and a reduction in costs of training replacement employees as well as conducting accident investigations.
Adopting a safety program with continuous improvement is challenging, because you have to keep asking “Is what we are doing good enough?” But in doing so you recognize that your program must constantly evolve. A good safety program benefits management as well as employees.