Why Have a Comprehensive Safety and Health Program?

The three major considerations involved in the development of an occupational safety and health program are as follows:

1. Humanitarian.

Safe operation of workplaces is a moral obligation imposed by modern society. This obligation includes consideration for loss of life, human pain and suffering, family suffering, hardships, etc.

2. Legal obligation.

Federal and state governments have laws charging the employer with the responsibility for safe working conditions and adequate supervision of work practices. Employers are also responsible for paying the costs incurred for injuries suffered by their employees during their work activities.

3. Economic.

Prevention costs less than accidents. This fact is proven consistently by the experience of thousands of industrial operations. The direct cost is represented by medical care, compensation, etc. The indirect cost of 4 to 10 times the direct cost must be calculated, as well as the loss of wages to employees and the reflection of these losses on the entire community.

All three of these are good reasons to have a safety and health program. It is also important that these programs be formalized in writing, since a written program sets the foundation and provides a consistent approach to occupational safety and health for the company. There are other logical reasons for a written safety and health program. Some of them are as follows:

  • • It provides standard directions, policies, and procedures for all company personnel.
  • • It states specifics regarding safety and health and clarifies misconceptions.
  • • It delineates the goals and objectives regarding workplace safety and health.
  • • It forces the company to actually define its view of safety and health.
  • • It sets out in black and white the rules and procedures for safety and health that everyone in the company must follow.
  • • It is a plan that shows how all aspects of the company's safety and health initiative work together.
  • • It is a primary tool of communication of the standards set by the company regarding safety and health.
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