Businesses find maintaining workplace safety helps bottom line

Workplace safety should be a major concern for all Pennsylvania businesses. Unfortunately, many businesses become lax on safety issues over time, especially if they have not had an accident that resulted in lost time or productivity in many months or even years. As time passes without an incident, both managers and workers generally become less attentive to safety needs and start taking shortcuts that are often dangerous. When a workplace accident does happen, it can reveal safety problems and issues that were being ignored. Unfortunately, an accident can cost both an injured worker and the employer dearly.

In Pennsylvania, the average workman's compensation claim runs some $38,000. Because most businesses in the state are self-insured, they may end up having to pay 80 percent of claims out of their own pockets. For this reason alone, businesses should be vigilant about maintaining and enforcing safety standards at all levels, including management and workers.

State authorities are helping with incentives for employers that are meant to encourage safe working environments. For companies that use certified committees for workplace safety measures, their insurance premiums for worker accidents may be lowered by 5 percent, not an insignificant amount for any company, large or small.

Federal workplace laws require employers in all industries to be vigilant about observing all safety regulations and measures in their workplaces. When workplace accidents do occur, new laws require employers to notify the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration within 24 hours. The previous law allowed employers up to 72 hours to report workplace accidents. The new law also requires that employers be constantly aware of various changes in workplace safety laws.

Source: TheTimes-Tribune.com, "Vigilance important for safety in the workplace", Jim Dino, Feb. 8, 2015

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