Employers should refrain from cutting back on safety, ASSE warns
Businesses must continue to focus on workplace health and safety efforts despite the economic hardships they might be facing, according to the American Society of Safety Engineers.
In remarks observing International Workers' Memorial Day, ASSE president C. Christopher Patton said that American employers have made great strides in safety over the years but should not let up during the recession.
"In the long run, companies will not save money by reducing or ignoring safety for their workers, customers, and communities they do business in," he said. "Money cut from safety processes now will have an enormous cost later -- from injury and health care costs, fines, contingency situations, lost production time, low employee morale, employee injuries, and even fatalities. There are better and smarter ways to protect employees, business, and the bottom line."
On-the-job fatality rates in the U.S. have been going down in recent years, yet Patton said many deaths are still occurring at workplaces that "don't value safety, that don't look at risks and solutions, that don't turn to safety, health and environmental professionals for the needed input and guidance to help make their workplace a safe one." Recent U.S. statistics show that fatal work injuries in the private construction sector in 2008 declined by 20 percent and fatal workplace falls declined by 20 percent. However, Patton said that transportation incidents -- still the number one cause of on-the-job fatalities -- accounted for approximately two-fifths of all the workplace fatalities in 2008.
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July 12, 2010
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