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Good Business The Top Benefit of Successful Workplace Safety and Health Programs

Good workplace safety and health practices are good business -- that's the emphasis of a new series of case studies that are a product of OSHA's Alliance with Abbott.

Through the Alliance, signed in 2003, OSHA and Abbott worked with the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business to develop case studies that communicate the business value and competitive advantages of an effective safety and health program that can be incorporated into business school and executive education curricula.

"These case studies offer useful information and demonstrate the correlation between safety and health excellence and business excellence," said Jonathan L. Snare, acting assistant secretary of Labor for OSHA. "They provide practical examples of how this correlation can protect worker safety and health, improve employee moral, and increase quality, efficiency and profitability."

The case studies focus on a variety of industries and safety and health issues. One case study describes how Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island was able to reduce musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) related workers' compensation cases with lost workdays by implementing a new ergonomics program and increasing workstation evaluations.

A second case study discusses the reduced injury rates and workers compensation claims experienced at two nursing home facilities that implemented "no-lift" programs.

Another case study demonstrates the economic benefits of a safety and health program by comparing the construction of two professional athletic stadiums -- one which opened a year late and ran more than $90 million over budget and another which was built in two and a half years and realized a net program savings estimated at $4.6 million through reduced workers' compensation and general liability costs due to a low injury and illness rate.

Several of the case studies focus on Abbott operations, including general safety and health in manufacturing plants, fleet safety, ergonomics and occupational exposure limits.

"Together with Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, one of our country's most respected business schools, we are finding new ways to reach all levels of the business community -- from MBA students to senior-level executives -- to help them understand the value of safety program excellence and the benefits brought to their businesses, their employees and their communities," said Jim Murphy, director, Global Crisis Management and Business Continuity Planning with Abbott.

The case studies are available on OSHA's Alliance Program Web site: and are available for use in business and other training curricula that address management skills and occupational safety and health issues.

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health.

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