Safety inspections do not hurt business profits: study


Cambridge, MA – Workplace safety inspections reduce injuries and related costs without harming company profits, refuting the argument that regulations kill jobs, according to a new study.

Researchers from Harvard University; the University of California, Berkeley; and Boston University evaluated workplaces inspected at random by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health from 1996 to 2006. Among high-hazard industries, inspected workplaces had a 9.4 percent reduction in injury claims and saved 26 percent in workers’ compensation costs in the four years following an inspection, according to a Harvard University press release.

Researchers found that inspected workplaces saved an average of $355,000 on injury claims and lost-time compensation with no apparent harm to profits.

OSHA administrator David Michaels supported the conclusions in a May 21 blog entry. “The findings should finally put an end to the criticisms that OSHA inspections make running a business more expensive without adding value,” he said. “The results are in: OSHA saves lives and jobs!”

The study was published May 18 in the journal Science.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)