Though OSH strategies may differ across industries, it’s essential for any legitimate business with employees to have a proper safety plan in place to meet health and safety compliance. In most countries, an act exists to govern the way businesses operate. In the U.S., this refers to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, established in 1970. In a nutshell, this act states that employers must adopt certain practices, means, methods, or processes that are reasonably appropriate to protect workers while on the job. This means providing employees with an environment free from known hazards such as exposure to mechanical dangers, heat or cold stress, excessive noise levels, exposure to toxic chemicals, unsanitary conditions, and anything else that may be detrimental to a worker’s health or safety.
OSH agencies are responsible for setting the standards for operational requirements and conducting inspections to make sure employers are providing safe and healthful workplaces. So, if your business gets audited by an OSH inspector and the necessary requirements aren’t being met, you’ll be in a world of trouble.
Reasons to Address Health and Safety Compliance for Managers
- Less turnover and absenteeism: If OSH is not an issue, managers can expect to see less turnover and absenteeism from their employees. These issues add to operational costs and can affect productivity if not addressed accordingly.
- Employees have improved morale: When employee morale is improved, they can better cope with stress and change. Improved morale also leads to more productivity and a more functional work environment overall.
- Increased productivity and job satisfaction: Increased productivity is an obvious advantage because having a more productive workplace is more profitable. Better job satisfaction results in increased productivity and improved employee morale.
- Fewer injuries, less compensation: When workers get injured, they are usually unable to work for a period. On top of that, companies are obliged to cover their medical costs, as well as continue paying their salaries while they recover.
- Reduced healthcare/insurance costs, fines, and litigation: When OSH is addressed correctly, the rate of incidents will be reduced, resulting in lowered healthcare and insurance costs for the business. The risk of having to pay fines and litigation fees is also reduced.
- Improved corporate image and culture: A company that is “OSH-friendly” generally has an improved image and culture. Not only is this great PR, but it also increases a company’s ability to attract and retain skilled talent and customers.
ROI of Health & Safety Compliance
A fundamental question that employers may ask is: “Does investing in OSH strategies improve the company’s bottom line?” Although the benefits may be difficult to quantify, the answer is still a resounding “Yes”.
In addition to the savings realized from reduced costs associated with OSH failures, there are also positive impacts on employee productivity and corporate image, which do not appear in a company’s ledger book. Having a great OSH plan in place can also mean the difference between winning and losing business contract bids, as well as government contracts.
Furthermore, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) has found that there is a direct positive correlation between investment in OSH and its subsequent ROI. This means there’s absolutely no excuse for not addressing OSH best practices with significant investments.
Maintaining proper OSH standards is simply the right thing to do, legally and morally. Compliance risk management is important because if workers aren’t complying with OSH guidelines, incidents will continue to happen regularly despite having a proper plan in place, making it redundant. Take care of your employees, and in return, they will take care of your business.