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Study shows performance incentives cause workplace accidents

It may come as no surprise to those in the New York workforce that many companies nationwide prioritize profits over worker safety. The combined research of two leading universities concludes that more workplace accidents occur at high-performing companies. The study used data provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration along with the financial information of businesses.

Those that show the highest injury rate are the companies whose financial performance meets or beats the expectations of financial analysts. It was found that these are companies at which management is incentivized to decrease production costs to bring about increased production output. It is easy to see how this form of motivation could jeopardize the safety of workers.

The study shows that increased performance is achieved by cutting employee training and supervision. Furthermore, employees are asked to do more work in the same or fewer hours per day while overtime expenses are avoided where possible. Bigger workloads typically lead to safety protocols being disregarded. In some cases, the incentives are passed on to workers who are enticed by money to risk their lives.

The same research revealed that employees at companies with a strong union presence are less likely to be involved in workplace accidents. Injured workers can seek financial assistance with medical expenses and lost wages and may be entitled to additional benefits upon proof of partial or permanent disabilities. This is accomplished in New York by filing claims for benefits through the workers' compensation insurance system, and an experienced workers' comp attorney is a valuable asset to help navigate the claims proceedings.

Source: safety.blr.com, "Are your managers choosing profits over protection?", May 3, 2017

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