As a small business owner, you are characteristically a risk taker. You wager your business acumen against larger, perhaps more heavily financed corporate groups and other free-spirited, self-employed individuals like yourself. There is excitement and challenge in such a venture. But to succeed, you need good management information, an ability to be a good manager of people, and the intelligence and inner strength both to make decisions and to make the right decisions.
Thousands of workers die each year, and many, many more suffer injury or illness from conditions at work. But how often does an owner or manager like you actually see or even hear about work-related deaths, serious injuries, or illnesses in the businesses with which you are familiar? How often has your business actually sustained this type of loss?
In most small businesses, the answer is—rarely. For this reason, many owners or managers do not understand why there is controversy about OSHA, job safety and health standards, inspections, citations, etc.
But others have learned why. Unfortunately, they have had to go through the kind of loss we are talking about. And these owner/managers will tell you that it is too late to do anything once a serious accident happens. They now know that prevention is the only real way to avoid this loss.
Reducing all losses is a goal that you as an owner or manager clearly share with us in OSHA. Each of us may see this goal in a slightly different light, but it remains our common intent.
We have learned from small employers, like you, that you place a high value on the well-being of your employees. Like many small businesses, you probably employ family members and personal acquaintances. And, if you don't know your employees before they are hired, then chances are that the very size of your workgroup and workplace will promote the closeness and concern for one another that small businesses value.
Assuming that your commitment to safe and healthful work practices is a given, we in OSHA want to work with you to prevent all losses. We believe that, when you make job safety and health a real part of your everyday operations, you cannot lose in the long run.
Successful safety and health activity now will enable you to avoid possible losses in the future.