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Study reveals that OSHA safety checks don't hurt company profits

Though the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been a bastion of workplace safety for decades, the agency is not without its critics. Many have argued that OSHA regulations and inspections designed to prevent workplace accidents actively cut into North Carolina employers' profits, preventing them from hiring additional employees and expanding operations.

Interestingly enough, a long-term study conducted by a Harvard Business School professor shows that workplace safety mandates do not adversely affect a company's ability to be profitable. In fact, OSHA regulations actually add value to companies.

Over the course of the study, which lasted 10 years, firms that were regularly inspected saved around 26 percent in workers' compensation payments and reduced claims for injuries by almost 10 percent, when compared to firms that were not regularly inspected. Researchers indicated that safety inspections and measures add nearly $6 billion in value to companies nationwide.

The study went further to assert that safety regulations put companies and their managers in a position to be proactive. Rather than waiting for a work-related accident to happen, they are implementing common sense, cost-cutting safety solutions, according to regulations.

Though some may continue to argue that workplace safety regulations restrict economic growth, the numbers show otherwise. Not only do these safety measures save companies money over time, but they protect employees, a company's most valuable asset.

Above all, this study demonstrates that the desire to earn profits and protect workers' safety do not have to be competing goals. Realistically, the risks -- and expenses -- associated with workplace injuries do not justify the decision to cut corners in safety. This study's findings provide reassurance for workers and validation for safety advocates in North Carolina and across the country.

Source: The Charlotte Observer, "Study: Safety inspections don't hurt profits," Sam Hananel, May 17, 2012

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