Consumer Advocacy

The Importance of Safety Programs in Your Workplace

Safety is always a priority in the workplace, which is why safety programs are required for all businesses. Every occupation has safety issues that must be addressed for the safety of all workers, as well as every companies’ success. Here are a few stories from major companies reflecting the impact and importance of safety:

Strict safety requirements at Intel considerably reduced accident rates

Intel, one of the biggest names in the semiconductor industry, employs strict safety requirements when subcontracting building projects. Being shortlisted as a subcontractor for Intel is lucrative, given the company’s huge construction budget. However, subcontractors must maintain a low rate of insurance claims (for a minimum of 3 years), have few on-the-job injuries and days away from work, and have no fatalities within the previous full year. Both subcontractors and the general contractor must meet safety standards while they are working for Intel. Thorough training is required. The company has an injury-free work plan, and they employ a buddy system wherein experienced workers are paired with new hires. Because of their policies, Intel dramatically reduced workplace injuries by as much as 92%, and has maintained that standard for the past 20 years, despite massive expansion early in that timespan.

Safety programs in steel companies can make an incredible difference in worker turnover

Steel production was once a dangerous occupation. Current technology has made steel making today much safer. McWane Inc. is one of the largest privately owned companies in the country, with foundries all across Canada and the U.S. Beginning in the 1970’s, McWane expanded considerably, buying up old plants and increasing output and productivity at the price of its workers’ health. An OSHA inspector described the conditions at that time: “Many workers have scars or disfigurations which are noticeable from several feet away. Burns and amputations are frequent. Throughout the plant, in supervisors’ offices and on bulletin boards, next to production charts and union memos, posted in big orange letters: REDUCE MAN HOURS PER TON’”. Worker turnover at the company is near 100%, and McWane struggles to hire workers in their foundries. Since 1995, McWane has amassed four times more safety violations than their six competitors combined. In contrast, the American Cast Iron Pipe Company, known as ACIPCO, has less than one percent worker turnover. The rate of injuries and fatalities at ACIPCO is a fraction of McWane’s, and there is a long list of people waiting for a job at the company. At one time, 10,000 applicants applied for 100 job openings. The secret, according to the manager, is making safety a priority. By improving work conditions and investing in safety training, employees are more comfortable and thus more productive. ACIPCO has been included on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

A comprehensive safety program helped Velocys reduce company workers’ compensation insurance

Velocys is a company specializing in the production of synthetic fuels. After installation of new equipment, workers began to complain of excessive noise. The company requested help from OSHA’s on-site consultation program. Experts identified additional hazards in the workplace, and performed a number of recommended enhancements. Fire alarms, smoke detectors, strobe lights, pull stations and remote carbon monoxide monitors were installed, along with a new explosion limit monitor that protects employees from entering hazardous atmospheres. These changes resulted in an 18% reduction in worker’s compensation and insurance premiums. Safety programs can help companies reduce costs, improve productivity, and they solidify a good reputation. Investment in safety programs costs far less compared to the costs associated with workplace injuries and compensation claims. Workers are more productive knowing that there are safety measures in place, which is a key component to a company’s success.  

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