Topic Thread:      Security & Consumer Protection   »   Ten Spider Enterprises, LLC   »   Workplace Safety & Occupational Health

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Workplace Safety & Occupational Health

Security has vaulted to the forefront of everyone’s mind today, but is often interpreted within a narrow context. Business and company security encompasses a broad spectrum of topics. The health and safety of employees, other workers such as service personnel, customers and visitors are often overlooked, especially by the small business proprietor. Such negligence can be costly, leading to lost productivity, disability claims and lawsuits. Employees are a primary business resource; loss of a key employee due to injury or sickness can have a devastating effect on a business, while loss of any employee creates a ripple effect resulting in increased workload and stress for other employees within the organization.

Even employers who have taken steps to prevent workplace accidents may ignore or be unaware of the effects of other more subtle occupational hazards such as stress, noise pollution and repetitive motion injuries. The toll these factors and more traumatic injuries can exact on a business in the form of financial outlays and lost productivity can be far greater than is generally perceived.

Employers often resist attempts to create a safer workplace environment because the effort can involve up-front costs they are unwilling to incur to achieve intangible results. Management should recognize, however, that there is an immediate benefit to enhancing workplace safety and health — a happier, more productive workforce. Management and employees can work together to achieve this goal in a manner which benefits both groups.

Agencies and organizations have been established for the purposes of safeguarding employee welfare and enhancing and monitoring workplace and office safety and health. Businesses employing a large number of personnel may be required to adhere to specific safety requirements to conform to Federal or state laws; smaller businesses and contractors may need to do the same in order to bid for government contracts. Agencies such as OSHA and NIOSH provide valuable safety resources that can and should be utilized by employers and proprietors at all levels in all types of business to assure that the safety and health of their employees is maximized.

Authored by Kenneth L. Anderson.  Original article published 5 May 2004, updated 10 February 2006.

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