No business owner wants to hear that a government agency is coming to inspect their workplace — whether it’s the USDA, the EPA or the IRS. But if there was a government agency that could help save money, improve productivity and increase employee morale — free of charge — businesses just might be interested.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “businesses spend $170 billion a year on costs associated with occupational injuries and illnesses.” It is estimated that workplaces that establish safety and health management systems can reduce costs due to injury and illness by 20 to 40 percent.
It’s easy for Arizona businesses to get help with workplace safety issues. Expert Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) consultants are available to conduct workplace surveys free of charge. On-site consultations are provided as a public service; as such, they are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations.
During the survey, the consultant observes work processes, interviews employees and managers and reviews existing safety and health programs. If toxins or hazardous chemicals are involved, they will monitor employee exposure.
At the end of the survey, the employer receives a confidential written report that identifies any hazards found during the visit, with recommendations for correction and suggestions on ways to improve the company’s approach to health and safety. The only obligation of the employer is to correct any serious job safety and health hazards
It is good business sense to promote safety. Fewer injuries and illnesses mean increased profits due to a decrease in lost workdays, workers’ compensation premiums, damage to equipment or products and other costs. The cost of accident prevention is far lower than the cost of accident damage.
In addition to conducting free on-site surveys, ADOSH provides information to employers who want to be sure they are complying with state and federal occupational safety and health standards.
Phone assistance, literature, videos and classes on a variety of subjects are available by calling (602) 542-1769 or toll free at (855) 268-5251, or by visiting the ADOSH website at www.ica.state.az.us/ADOSH. Spanish language consultants and resources are also available.
• Darin Perkins has been director of the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) since August of 1998. His previous experience includes eight years as a safety compliance officer, health compliance officer, and supervisor of the industrial hygiene compliance section at ADOSH..