Workplace fatalities

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Courtesy of Intelex Technologies Inc.

An increase in workplace fatalities, like the untimely deaths of a crane operator and construction worker in New York’s lower-east side (May 2008), reinforces the desperate need for workplace safety programs.

With thousands of people needlessly dying on the job every year, one can’t help but wonder what’s going wrong. According to Michael Belzer, associate research scientist with the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Michigan, one factor may be that “… in an economic downturn there’s more pressure on people to get more done for less time and less money.” (MSNBC 2008, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25214805/)

Following that logic, for a corporation to implement a Safety Management System it will cost money, but the price tag is miniscule when compared with benefits of having a healthy workforce. Ultimately, the money an organization saves as a result of fewer production days lost to sick leave, significantly reduced liability expenses, and an increase in employee satisfaction far outweighs the cost of the initial Safety Management Program.

So as I see it, the necessary steps to increase employee health and safety are three-fold. First, corporations need to take a proactive approach to protecting the welfare of their employees by investing in a Health and Safety Management Program. Secondly, the government needs to effectively enforce healthy and safety regulations. And lastly, employees need to demand safe working environments.

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