TXOGA: What Texas’ Energy Sector, Insurers Can Teach Us About Workplace Safety

June 8, 2015

Workplace safety — and getting workers back on the job after injuries — can and should be part of every employer’s company culture. In fact, employers who encourage safety among workers, actively mitigate accidents and commit to getting injured workers back on the job see a tremendous return on investment.

The Texas oil and gas industry, along with partners like Texas Mutual, are setting a high bar when it comes to promoting workplace safety and advancing “return to work” programs.

As the oil and natural gas industry grows by leaps and bounds in Texas, the influx of new workers and the migration of workers from one job site to the next, presents a unique set of challenges. Comprehensive and ongoing training is a must, not just for new workers, but also for seasoned veterans of the oil and gas fields. A commitment to safety is good for workers, and it’s good for business.  

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers who invest in safety see a return on investment up to 600 percent. The dividends and benefits realized through employers’ insurance could enhance those savings further. Safety in the workplace reduces accidents and workers’ comp costs and maintains productivity, which generates additional resources to create more jobs.   

Texas’ oil and gas producers boast some of the most progressive, effective safety programs in the state. One example is the driver safety campaign that the Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA) supports in partnership with Texas Mutual Insurance Company.

Most Texans drive to work every day and don’t think about the risks. Yet, traffic accidents are the leading causes of workplace injuries. Five simple tips that the industry engrains in all employees can help save lives: Buckle up every time; control your speed; avoid distractions; maintain your vehicle; and, never drive drowsy.

Many oil and natural gas companies also embrace return to work policies that ensure workers are back on the job in productive, alternative positions that accommodate their needs and abilities until they can return to their former positions.

Replacing an injured worker can cost 50 to 150 percent of the injured worker’s salary, according to a study by Hay Group, a global management consulting firm. That’s why “return to work programs” — like those provided by many TXOGA members — represent smart investments that benefit workers and their employers.

A wide array of online tools and resources — covering everything from controlling struck-by incidents, chemical safety and general rig inspection — are available to help Texas employers craft policies and programs that fit their individual needs.

According to the International Labour Organization, more than 90 percent of workplace accidents are preventable. We encourage all Texas employers to invest in workplace safety and return to work programs. A safe work environment and bottom line considerations can and should go hand in hand. In fact, safe, happy, productive workers can go far in boosting a company’s bottom line. Safety is worth the investment. Every time.  

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