Today, businesses spend $170 billion a year in expenses involving work injuries and illnesses. Historically viewed as an unavoidable expense, more and more companies are recognizing the importance that a safe work environment plays in productivity and overall organizational success.
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), businesses that maintain proper safety and health management policies and procedures can reduce their costs, such as workers’ compensation, by 20 to 40 percent. Furthermore, OSHA reports that for every $1 invested in workplace safety and health, employers see a $4 to $6 return.
In other words, improving safety can actually improve profitability. After all, the fewer workers who are injured, the more work that can get done. With ever-increasing workloads for the trade industries, it’s more important than ever before to have everyone available to contribute. In addition, safe work environments improve employee morale and heighten employee loyalty. Inversely, when a person gets injured on the job, you may have to replace him or her with someone who is not as well trained, and consequently your productivity or quality may suffer.
Contractors and other business owners can improve safety in the workplace by taking a number of steps, including:
• Hiring competent workers – Inept workers are far more likely to get injured on the job.
• Providing proper safety training – This ensures that the team knows the proper work techniques to do their job safely.
• Demanding safe work practices – Managers must practice what they preach and work to provide consistent messages.
• Providing the right tools and equipment – Workers must have (and use) the proper personal protection equipment (PPE).