Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Making Time for Safety: Not Spending Time on Safety Education and Training Is a Costly Mistake

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Making Time for Safety: Not Spending Time on Safety Education and Training Is a Costly Mistake

Article excerpt

I'm a gardener. I grow flowers, vegetables and herbs in a tiny urban yard. As a half-joke, I often give my busy friends a small jar of dried thyme, telling them, "Everyone can use a little more time."

Perhaps I should send my entire crop to Michigan, where employers claim a "lack of time" is the greatest hindrance to workplace safety education.

A recent survey of 700 business owners, operators and managers conducted by EPIC-MRA found 25 percent of respondents claimed that not having enough time was "the greatest barrier" in educating their workers on staying safe. Eleven percent cited employee turnover as the greatest barrier to providing workplace safety education, while 7 percent each blamed the availability of information and the cost of providing training.

Oh really? Let's take a look at these reasons for not providing safety training:

No time for training. A reported total of 1.3 million injuries and illnesses in private industry required recuperation away from work beyond the day of the incident in 2004, the most recent statistics published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Median days away from work--a key measure of the severity of the injury or illness--was 7 days for all cases in 2004. Multiply 1.3 million by the average of 7 days, and you get 9.1 million days away from work. That's a lot of time by anyone's measurement.

If a day of training--or several hours of training spread out over several months--can prevent an employee from missing an average of 7 days of work following an occupational injury or illness, I'd say the time was well-spent. …

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