It is in both the employer and the employee's best interests to have a safe work environment. This way, employers have productive employees who can do their jobs without interruption and employees can work without fear for their physical well-being.
Under California law, employee rights include the right to safe working conditions. In other words, employers are required to maintain minimum safety standards in the workplace under worker rights laws. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is the governmental organization responsible for holding employers accountable.
As part of Cal/OSHA's regulations employers are required to prepare and submit an Injury and Illness Prevention Program plan. These IIPPs are written outlines of a business's safety plan and procedures. They help employers and employees understand the safety precautions that are in place, and what to do in case of an injury or an emergency.
Not only can an IIPP help make a business run more efficiently, it can also save a business money. In the recent recession, many governmental agencies are looking to increase their revenues, including Cal/OSHA. Therefore, Cal/OSHA has been taking a very close look at businesses and their IIPPs. In some cases, Cal/OSHA is even fining businesses that do not meet the IIPP requirements.
For example, Cal/OSHA recently fined one California business almost $39,000 for 36 different violations. Many of these violations had to do with problems in their IIPP.
While $39,000 is a lot of money, it is relatively small compared to the cost of an injury due to unsafe working conditions. If businesses updates their IIPPs they can not only avoid fines by zealous agencies, but they also reduce the risk of costly injuries by having precautions and plans in place.
Source: Examiner.com, "Employers need updated injury and illness prevention plans," April Kelcy, May 30, 2012