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How worker safety makes Kansas businesses more profitable

Businesses can get lost in making profits. Sometimes the focus on money sacrifices employee workplace safety. Many companies relegate safety rules, training and procedures to the back burner. In reality, even from a pure profit-and-loss standpoint, safety is a money saver.

Safe workplace environments lower the number of workers' compensation claims, work injuries and accidents. Employees injured on the job lose wages. Employers with hurt workers lose productivity and, ultimately, damages profits.

Unsafe work environments hurt four million Americans every year and kill 13 people each day, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Workers who are injured can be permanently disabled. The ripple effect of an unsafe U.S. workplace affects the lives of families at a cost of over $150 billion every year.

Nearly all this expense can be eliminated, when employers invest in safe workplaces.

Experts recommend a review of existing safety programs. Finding deficiencies and fixing them is a start. Employers are advised to design safety improvements and get workers involved in implementation.

Reaching minimum safety standards is the only legal limit some employers meet. Passing a safety inspection for local, state or federal officials becomes the goal. Employees have a right to safe, health work environments -- consistently -- not only when inspectors are scheduled to visit.

Business and safety specialists suggest creating safety plans that don't sit in a bottom file drawer. Safety standards should be active and ongoing. Management and workers can share responsibilities for identifying hazards and poor practices and suggesting improvements.

Employees are part of making a safety strategy a success. Worker safety training is imperative. Safety policies have to be shared so employees know how to protect themselves and co-workers from harm.

Forward-thinking companies measure the safety standards they have, assess risks and make improvements -- not just once, but on regular schedules. Setting goals for improved safety and rewarding individuals and teams for best practices encourages whole-company participation.

Source: greenbaypressgazette.com, "Carol Jamrosz column: Take time to review safety in workplace," Carol Jamrosz, June 29, 2012

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