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Study: OSHA inspections lead to reduced workplace injuries

Many Texas companies see federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations as designed to add unnecessary expenses and responsibilities for employers, but do not see the benefits of complying. The truth is, OSHA's safety regulations are intended to save employees from suffering a wrongful death or a serious personal injury while on the job.

Now, a recently published decade-long study of hundreds of work sites supports the need for OSHA's workplace safety regulations. The results of the study were based on random safety inspections of work sites during the 10-year period from 1996 through 2006. According to the statistics, workplace injury claims were reduced by almost 10 percent if the business was subject to a safety inspection.

Obviously, this is good news for employees, but there was substantial benefits passed on to employers as well. The study found that there were no negative impacts on profits or sales by complying with workplace health and safety rules.

Instead, the study found that the inspected companies actually saved on average 26 percent of the cost for workers' compensation during the four-year period following the inspection. This translates into an average savings of $355,000 in injury claims and compensation for paid lost work during that time period. That cost does not quantify the cost savings from preventing the loss of production for sick or injured workers, along with the pain and suffered by employees who are involved in accidents.

According to this study, voluntary safety programs simply do not make work sites safer for employees. Voluntary programs also do not cut costs for workers' compensation insurance premiums in the same way as simply complying with OSHA's inspections, and ensuring that work environments are in compliance with safety regulations.

Source: The Washington Post, "Study finds government job-safety inspections reduce injuries without hurting profits," May 17, 2012

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