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Safety reviews can help businesses reduce healthcare costs
05.17.2012Developing a set of occupational medicine goals and conducting safety inspections regularly could help businesses reduce their healthcare costs without burdening the companies with extra expenses related to the review, according to a new study published in the journal Science.
The findings may help counteract misperceptions among businesses about safety inspections. Many employers feel that these reviews do not do enough to improve safety to justify the cost or interference that comes with an inspection. The results of the study suggest that companies actually have a lot to gain from safety reviews.
For the study, researchers from Harvard Business School reviewed data from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. This state agency conducts randomized safety reviews at employers throughout the state.
The results showed that reviews helped businesses improve worker safety and reduce the likelihood that an employee would be injured on the job. The number of injuries at companies that conducted safety reviews decreased by 9 percent. This translated to a 26 percent reduction in injury costs.
Furthermore, these inspections did not damage a company's profitability. The researchers found no evidence that an occupational safety review led to a decrease in employment, sales, credit rating or company survival.
The results suggest that, far from interfering with a company's ability to conduct business as usual, an occupational safety review can actually help an employer sustain its profit margins and keep revenues from going to pay for injury treatment.
Conducting an exhaustive safety review should be a top occupational medicine goal for businesses in all industries. This could play an important role in keeping operations running smoothly and, most importantly, profitably.
Categories: Workplace Safety
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