Job Killer? Try Bottom Line Booster: Workplace Safety Inspections Save Money, Jobs, Limbs
Costly safety upgrades, nitpicky government inspection and resulting fines are often blamed as being bad for business. But a new study shows that when government job-safety inspectors make a surprise visit, they actually enable companies to save money—and jobs—for years to come.
Occupational safety has improved immensely over the decades, but in industries with traditionally high injury rates, such as manufacturing, lumber or food processing, work is still dangerous, putting employees at risk and leaving employers vulnerable to expensive accidents. But how much can just one safety inspection help?
Quite a bit, the new analysis suggests: Just one inspection saved companies 26 percent on workers compensation claims over five years.
Of 818 companies with more than 10 employees, the 409 that were randomly selected for inspections saved an average of $355,000 over five years in worker injury claims and compensation at each firm, compared with the other 409 similar companies that were not inspected.
And that’s no small potatoes for most of these places of business. In the sample, that savings worked out to be about 14 percent of the average annual payroll of these companies. What’s more, this added focus on safety did not lower company profits or workforce size. The findings were published online May 17 in Science.