The safety of employees in the professional workplace
should of course be the first concern of management and Human Resources. Occupational health and safety topics are usually required training for HR professionals and managers in certain industries. In addition, government regulatory agencies offer guidelines and issue mandates to protect the safety of employees. However, of course much can be done in the area of safety; many industries sill suffer from high fatality and injury rates.
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Occupational health and safety is a cross-disciplinary area which focuses on ensuring a safe workplace for employees and, by indirect association, the employees' families. There are legal, moral, and economic reasons that a company must focus on this area and create a safe and healthy environment in the workplace.
In the US, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets and enforces the legal obligations required of companies to ensure these safe conditions. The safety regulations deal with physical safety and health for the most part, and include things like requiring employees or visitors to wear hardhats in an area where there could be a risk of falling items or debris, allowing proper ventilation for spaces, and creating accessible and escapable areas in case of emergencies. If found in violation of the OSHA rules and regulations, businesses can face stiff penalties and fines.
From a moral standpoint, the ensuring of a safe workplace is representative of supplying basic human needs. This is an essential contributor to employee satisfaction and retention. From an economic view, the benefits of effort and money put into prevention far outweigh the potential costs associated with a lax view of these things. Workman's compensation costs, medical reimbursements, fines and penalties from government, and the cost of insurance premiums for the company all are directly affected by the compliance with OSHA regulations and company considerations for employee safety. A company must have safety as a top priority if it is to be effective in employee retention and business growth. Disregarding this aspect of doing business will negatively affect the bottom line of the company and the attractiveness of the business to potential talent.