The Cost of Safety and Compliance

The ISHN very recently published an article, “Counting the Costs of Occupational Injuries”. The article went on to identify the cost categories of workplace injuries, which were very interesting. But the real attention grabber, was that $1,250 billion world-wide is absorbed either directly or indirectly by workplace accidents.

This got me to thinking, how can GHS and a compliant hazard communication program positively affect that number?

In 2012 OSHA stated that Hazard Communication was the second most cited violation, with 4,696 total violations. A compliant program can better educate employees about possible hazards in the workplace, which may lead to preventing a few workplace accidents. The information on a SDS is there to help prevent accidents. Knowing what PPE is required, proper storage and handling instructions, etc. isn’t there for its own good.  If you are only using a safety data sheet for first-aid measures, odds are it is already too late.

The big question on a lot of people’s minds is how will GHS affect safety numbers in the long run? Well some 40+ million workers in the U.S. alone will be affected by GHS. There will also be implementation and training costs. However, OSHA is forecasting the prevention of 43 fatalities and 585 injuries per year from implementing the GHS. With the cost reductions from limiting injuries and productivity improvements, OSHA estimates a net annual savings of $754 million per year from GHS.

With the GHS already adopted in Europe and other nations like Canada who is fast-tracking the GHS, we should hope to see numbers improve across the board. Take a look at our GHS Infographic for a more in depth look.