With the rapid pace of change in the world today and an economy that continues to struggle to recover from the last recession, it is all too common for workplace safety to take a back seat to other pressing concerns. Unfortunately, letting workplace safety fall lower and lower on your company’s priority list is something you just can’t afford to allow to happen.
If you read our series of postings in November and December about implementing an effective safety program, you’ll recall that in the same way that speed limit signs aren’t what keeps you from speeding (it’s the potential of seeing those flashing lights and a police officer holding you accountable), it’s not the safety regulations that drive your safety program, it’s the potential for being held accountable by agencies like OSHA. If you’re still not feeling inspired, pay close attention to what follows:
OSHA Fines Total $1.2 Million Dollars In Just 2 Weeks
The OSHA website has a newsroom page where they post all of their press releases. From January 1 through January 17, just a little over two weeks, the site showed 23 different press releases. Of those, 8 were about miscellaneous news items or early reports of violations, but the other 15 were about specific citations of particular companies for violations and the proposed fines to be levied.
Fines for the citations reported in these 15 press releases add up to nearly $1.2 million dollars – that’s an average of about $80,000 per company. If an $80,000 hit directly to the bottom line of your company sounds like something you’d rather avoid, then you’d better start bumping safety back up closer to the top of your priority list!
Additional Consequences of Ignoring OSHA’s Workplace Safety Guidelines
However, it’s also important to say that although the negative impact that ignoring safety can have on your bottom line is important, there’s more at stake than just money and profits. We are, after all, talking about people’s lives here! As Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis put it in her Workers Memorial Day speech on April 26, 2012:
“Every day in America, 13 people go to work and never come home. Every year in America, nearly 4 million people suffer a workplace injury from which some may never recover. These are preventable tragedies that disable our workers, devastate our families, and damage our economy. American workers are not looking for a handout or a free lunch. They are looking for a good day’s pay for a hard day’s work. They just want to go to work, provide for their families, and get home in one piece.”
Yes, 13 deaths per day in workplaces across the nation is a lot less than the 38 deaths per day that were happening when OSHA was created in 1970, but that’s still 13 too many! Focusing on workplace safety is important for your company’s long-term financial health and it’s just the right thing to do.
If your company decides that it should make safety a real priority in 2013, please explore the CSEM website to find out how our safety compliance and consulting programs can help you understand and comply with all the relevant regulations that apply to your business. You, your company’s bottom line and your workers will be glad you did!