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Established companies find benefits in ignoring worker safety

An international study has found that those companies that are best equipped to provide a safe workplace are more likely not to provide it. The reason, workers in Mississippi should know, is that it’s cheaper for such companies to simply pay the fines for safety violations than to follow the regulations. This obviously puts workers in danger.

The study looked at the survival of more than 100,000 Oregon-based organizations over a 25-year period. By survival is meant the ability to continue with operations even after a change of owners. Researchers also analyzed each company’s history of disabling claims: claims where a worker suffered a permanent disability or a temporary one requiring at least three days off work.

One finding was that companies had better organizational survival when they put off workers’ safety. Companies that would deal with workers’ compensation claims were, in some cases, 50% more likely to survive than safer companies. However, the advantage that comes with ignoring workplace safety only holds for companies with over 100 employees. Those with fewer than 30 employees get little or no benefit.

Researchers suggest new rules that encourage, by way of reward, innovative ways to boost both safety and productivity. The study could not explain why facing workers’ comp claims contributes to a company’s survival.

Injured employees, whatever the industry they work in, can file a workers’ comp claim and be reimbursed for their medical expenses, a portion of their lost wages and short- or long-term disability leave. If it’s clear that the company failed to keep employees safe, then there should be little opposition from the employer. Still, while there is no need to prove anyone’s negligence to be reimbursed, an employer has the right to deny payment in certain cases. Victims might consider speaking with an attorney.

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