incident rate for nonfatal injuries and
illnesses in private industry declined
from 5.0 per 100 workers to 3. 5.1
Since the establishment of OSHA in
1970, occupational fatalities have been cut
in half, and injuries and illnesses have
been reduced by 40 percent. An estimated
75,000 premature fatalities and millions of
injuries and illnesses have been prevented
by the establishment of effective OHS
6 The average OSHA
Voluntary Protection Plan (VPP) worksite
has a Days Away Restricted or Transferred
(DART) case rate that is 52 percent below
the average for its industry.
Return on Investment
A recent survey of 231 senior financial
executives or managers of U.S.-based
companies with 100 or more employees
revealed the perception that, on average,
for every dollar spent improving workplace safety, about $4.41 would be returned.
A major Australian wealth management company has weighed in on workplace health and safety. According to a
media release from Goldman Sachs JBWere, “the research shows that over the
period of November 2004 to October
2007 companies who did not adequately
manage workplace health and safety …
underperformed those who did.”
Chemical processing and petroleum
companies participating in a process
safety impact study reported measurable
ROI from a process safety program due
to increased productivity and decreased
costs of production, maintenance, capital
budget, and insurance premiums.
Most employers should be aware that
when losses for worker injuries and illnesses increase beyond industry expectations (or the Experience Modification
Rating), insurance premiums rise. A recent article in the Independent Electrical
Contractor’s periodical Insights draws attention to these potential insurance cost
variances. For example, a business could
pay up to 75 percent less in premiums
than a competitor for achieving a “zero
injuries” record. Conversely, the same
business could pay up to 300 percent
higher than a competitor for a poor history of worker compensation losses.
The Greatest Satisfaction
The OHS professional’s role is to be
proactive rather than reactive. Proactive
safety is more desirable, because management and labor are most in control of
the situation and outcomes. Programs
that rely on regulatory compliance
checklists or reactive implementation of
safety measures do not provide the
greatest degree of risk control.
OHS professionals help discover the
safest way to perform each work task, as
well as gauge the workplace safety culture and attitudes, before a problem occurs. Of course, if an incident does
occur, we will be there right away to
help mitigate the harm and do our best
to prevent it from happening again.
David Kudlinski, CIH, CSP, is a consultant with
Bureau Veritas. He can be reached at (714) 431-
4125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please send feedback on this article to
1. BLS: News release. Available at www.bls.gov/news.
release/archives/osh_10202011.pdf (Oct. 20, 2011).
2. BLS: Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), Table A-1.
Available at www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cftb0250.pdf (2010).
3. BLS: CFOI, Charts 1992–2010, Nos. 1, 2, 6, and 17.
Available at www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0009.pdf (2010).
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Available at www.osha.gov/Publications/safety-health-
6. NIOSH: Publication No. 2011-130, “The Economic Burden
of Occupational Fatal Injuries to Civilian Workers in the
United States based on the Census of Fatal Occupational
Injuries, 1992-2002.” Available at www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/
7. Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety: 2010 Liberty
Mutual Workplace Safety Index. Available at www.liberty
8. Center for Chemical Process Safety of the American
Institute of Chemical Engineers: “The Business Case for
Process Safety, 2nd Edition.” Available at www.aiche.org/
9. OSHA: Success with VPP. Available at www.osha.gov/dcsp/
10. CDC: Benefits of Health Promotion Programs. Available at
11. Huang, Y-H, et al.: “Financial Decision Makers’ Views on
Safety: What SH&E Professionals Should Know.”
Professional Safety (April 2009).
12. Goldman Sachs JBWere: “Goldman Sachs JBWere Finds
Valuation Links in Workplace Health and Safety Data.”
Available at http://gs.co.nz/documents/About/MediaRoom/
13. Malesic, Christian: “The Savings in Safety.” Insights,