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Can improving workplace safety actually save a company money?

Under Maryland law, workers who are injured or made ill in their workplaces are entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits. All Maryland employers are required to maintain workers' compensation insurance or become a self-insurer with the permission of the Worker's Compensation Commission. Employers who fail to maintain workers compensation can actually face fines between $500 to $5000 and up to a year in jail.

Obviously, running a business without workers' compensation insurance is not a sustainable option. That's why a better cost-saving measure is for Maryland employers to adopt improvements to their worker safety programs and policies.

According to the 2012 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, workplace accidents in 2010 that resulted in deaths, injuries and illnesses cost the nation roughly $1 billion per week in direct workers' compensation costs for the most disabling injuries.

There are also ancillary costs that can be attributed to workers being unable to show up and actually do their jobs. A company may experience an overall reduction in productivity. They may eventually have to pay overtime to other employees in order to make up for the injured worker's lost production. These are examples of hidden company costs that might have simply been avoided by just observing good workplace safety protocols.

Despite the obvious benefits of workplace safety, some employers still choose to cut corners and put their workers at unnecessary risk of harm. If you are a Maryland worker who has been injured or made ill, you should know that you have a right to receive all of the appropriate and necessary medical treatment you require to heal. Additionally, you may also be entitled to receive vocational training if you are no longer able to perform your previous job.

If you are denied Maryland workers' compensation benefits, your attorney can assist you with the preparation and presentation of your appeal to the Workers' Compensation Commission.

Source: United States Department of Labor-Occupational Safety & Health Administration, "Business Case for Safety and Health" accessed Jan. 21, 2015

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