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New study shows workplaces can be safe and still profitable, too

While no employer in New York wants to see its workers get hurt on the job, some businesses are better about preventing injuries to its employees in the first place. Many managers and owners believe that while a workplace injury is not good for either employee or employer, neither can such an injury be prevented without great cost to the company.

A new study may help to dispel that notion. The probe found that random inspections at industrial worksites by government safety officials did not have a measurable effect on the companies' profitability. As a bonus, officials found that workplace accidents and injuries occurred at a rate of more than 9 percent less at worksites that had been subjected to random expenses.

One of the consistent criticisms of the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration in its 40-year history is that it oversteps its authority in passing on costs to employers. However, this study found that the businesses that received random inspections did not suffer negative effects, such as cutting jobs, seeing sales drop or going out of business entirely, when compared with companies that were not randomly inspected.

In fact, an inspection might serve to help a company's bottom line. Of the inspected workplaces that did have claims for workers' compensation, the cost of the injured workers' claims and lost wages was more than 25 percent less than that of companies that were not inspected.

While this study will not convince all employers to be more mindful of safety, it will hopefully provide an inspiration to some of them once they realize that a safe company is a financially sound company.

Source: Reuters, "Safety inspections don't hurt businesses--study," Scott Malone, May 17, 2012

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