Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Occupational Health and Safety - a note

The nature and extent of Government intervention required to address problems has become a major topic in business because of the increasing compliance burden. In our view, this burden has in fact become too great in part because Government is trying to control risks that really cannot be controlled via regulation.

While that is our general view, every so often we come across examples that demonstrate why such regulation is arguably inevitable and sometimes necessary.

The case in point was a major corporation working in a high risk area in occupational terms. They have long had occupational health and safety problems, but have been slow to address them, effectively treating them simply as a standard risk of doing business. Now they are being forced to address them.

The point of the story is that many of the new initiatives now being introduced make perfect sense in commercial terms in that the cost of corrective action is less than the direct costs associated with work force accidents. So the business case was there from the beginning, but was not identified.

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