We all agree that reducing workplace injuries and keeping employees safe is important. But there are different schools of thought on how exactly to achieve that. On one hand, some feel that more regulations and stricter fines are the most effective way to ensure employees are protected. On the other, some think that creating a workplace committed to safety is the more effective.
Those who support the idea of stricter fines and more regulations will be happy to know that in the near future OSHA will be introducing a new program to help protect workers in all types of jobs. The program is called the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
This program is designed to concentrate OSHA’s effort more specifically on the repeat offenders – companies that are obstinate and show a lack of concern for safety laws and regulations. The program will increase the number of OSHA inspections at those companies as well as increase fines for repeat offenders. Hopefully this program pushes companies to comply with safety regulations out of fear of harsher fines and penalties.
In a recent news release announcing the program OSHA stated that: “For many employers, investing in job safety happens only when they have adequate incentives to comply with OSHA’s requirements. Higher penalties and more aggressive, targeted enforcement will provide a greater deterrent and further encourage these employers to furnish safe and healthy workplaces for their employees.”
This reasoning supports the idea that greater fines and penalties are the way to reduce workplace accidents and injuries.
So, okay. That makes sense. But is there more we need to do? Fines and penalties may serve as motivation to ensure workers are safe, but that is reactionary rather than proactive. We can’t sit back and assume that inspections and fines are going to fix everything.
This is where the other side of the debate comes into play. Making employees committed to safety is an important part of maintaining an injury free workplace. If employees take ownership of the safety program and feel that they play an integral part in developing and maintaining that program, then they are more likely to follow all safety regulations. It may even cause employees to start suggesting safety improvements that they feel are important.
Overall, I don’t feel that either approach will solve the workplace injury issue. I think a combination of fines and regulations paired with a stronger sense of ownership for safety in one’s workplace will help reduce the number of workplace injuries and accidents.
What do you think?
Posted by got2 love safety