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Safety problems can have big financial impacts on businesses

Being accused of falling short when it comes to keeping a safe workplace can put a business into a very precarious position. Major consequences can come out of such accusations, including financial consequences.

For one, allegations of safety mishaps or oversights could lead to a business being issued a fine by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, if the alleged oversight/mishap is against applicable federal safety regulations. And the potential financial impacts of OSHA fines recently shot upward, as some major fine increases recently took effect when it comes to OSHA violations.

Another way alleged safety problems with its business space could take a big financial toll on a business is through exposing the business to potential litigation. When a customer or a worker with another company is hurt in a business’s workplace, and the hurt individual alleges that the injury happened because of a safety failing in that workplace, the business could face a personal injury lawsuit. Pretty significant damages could end up being assessed against a business in such a lawsuit if the business loses the case. So, the quality of the defense strategy a business has when facing such lawsuits can have big implications.

Financial losses coming from OSHA fines or personal injury lawsuits can cause major setbacks for a business and could even put its continuing viability in danger. So, maintaining a safe business space can be a key part of protecting a business’ overall wellbeing. Examples of workplace-safety-failing-prevention measures businesses can take include:

  • Providing high-quality safety training to employees.
  • Conducting thorough in-house safety inspections.
  • Encouraging employees to report safety concerns, so possible safety issues can be addressed before they escalate into major problems.
  • Maintaining solid recordkeeping when it comes to safety matters.
  • Being aware of the state and federal safety rules they are subject to, and engaging in proper preparations to stay in compliance with such rules.
  • Using new technologies to enhance their workplace safety practices.

In your opinion, what are the most important things for businesses to do when it comes to staying on top of safety matters?

Source: EHS Today, “Top Three Ways to Avoid Increased OSHA Fines,” James Robins, July 20, 2016

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