OSHA: A Valuable Asset for Small Business Risk Management

March 2017

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, more commonly referred to as OSHA, is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. Many associate red tape and obsolete regulation with this agency however, few business owners fully understand the benefits offered by OSHA and its subsequent services designed to reduce workplace illness, injury, and fatality.

The mission is to, “Assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.” To achieve this, the agency makes use of following formula to control workplace hazards:

  • Eliminate the hazard
  • Limit the exposure to the hazard or control it at its source.
  • Train personnel to be aware of the hazard and to follow safe work procedures to avoid it.
  • Prescribe personal protective equipment for protecting employees against the hazard and ensure that they not only use it, but that they know how to use it correctly.

Efforts to reduce losses from workplace injuries and illness can help a business in a multitude of ways. Chiefly, it helps to ensure minimal disruption of day-to-day workflow. Illness and absenteeism can reduce production, therefore reducing profit. Taking initiatives to ensure employee safety and health also boosts employee morale by providing a tangible way to show your employees they are both valued and cared for. Lastly, taking such preventive measures helps to manage or reduce liability insurance costs, including the related costs of workers’ compensation claims.

OSHA initiatives have decreased workplace injury by over 40% and deaths have decreased by over 50% since its inception in 1971. Whether or not your business falls in a highly targeted industry requiring OSHA compliance and regulatory monitoring, its implementation can still be a highly valuable asset when it comes to managing your liability insurance costs and overall risks.

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