According to a new study just published in ScienceNow, OSHA inspections save lives AND money rather than driving companies into bankrupcy and forcing them to have layoffs because of the high cost of compliance.
The article entitled “It’s Official: Random Inspections Improve Workplace Safety” seems to effectively settle a long-standing debate. On the one hand there are those who maintain that while compliance does have a price tag, it is far less expensive to spend the money to become compliant than to face the higher cost of lawsuits, injury costs, deaths, etc… that come when a company is not worried about compliance. Furthermore, the study proves that “random safety inspections do indeed improve safety without leading to burdensome expense or job loss“.
The study found that although in some rare instances reports of injuries actually went up after random inspections (this is due to the fact that recordkeeping, prior to the inspection, wasn’t recording all the injuries as they should have been), on average, workplace injuries were reduced by an average of 9% in the 4 years following the random inspection while the cost of the reported injuries fell by 26%. And all that without costing anyone their job.
“Our study suggests that randomized inspections work as they’re meant to, improving safety while not undermining the company’s ability to do business,” says Michale Toffel, an environmental management expert at Harvard Business School. “Now we’d like to get more data to see exactly how inspections reduce injuries, and to investigate what kinds of companies would get the most or least benefit from safety regulation.”