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STUDY: OSHA inspections reduce on-the-job injury

Colorado has yet to be party to the study, but recent data in other areas shows that government inspections may help reduce on-the-job injury. For many businesses, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and their industry safety regulations are considered job killers and expensive. In a recent study report released May 18, 409 businesses in another state were randomly inspected, and 409 similar businesses were not.

The findings showed that the inspections did in fact promote safer workplaces, and that the cost was not enough to be detected, effectively squelching the past opinion about OSHA. On-the-job injury is a serious consideration, and if OSHA and businesses can work together, perhaps the number of these injuries can be reduced effectively.

The study conducted examined high-hazard businesses and found that on-the-job injuries claims were reduced by 9.4 percent and workers ' compensation costs were reduced by 26 percent in four years following the study. These findings suggest that OSHA inspections are good for businesses and for employees, which is a positive relationship that may help reduce on-the-job injury across the board. While it has been stated that this study has only been conducted in one area and the findings in other areas may not reflect this positive outcome, it certainly sparks optimism.

Colorado businesses that are considered among the high-hazard industries may benefit from a study such as this one to determine what practices may help reduce on-the-job injury. OSHA is designed to help indicate ineffective safety practices, to encourage the implementation of proper safety practices, and to protect both businesses and employees. This study may have shown that OSHA is not to be feared, but should be considered a very valuable tool.

On-the-job injury can happen in any industry, not only high-hazard industries. While it is true that the majority of workplace accidents occur in high-hazard industries, Colorado workers should practice safe workplace standards on any industry level. If injured on the job, workers should consider that workers' compensation benefits may be available to them, regardless of what industry or position they work in. Working to help reduce on-the-job injury is a positive step; however no one can guarantee that such injuries will never be an occurrence.

Source: US News and World Report, "OSHA's Safety Tests Protect Workers at Little Cost: Study," Steven Reinberg, May 17, 2012

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