Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Pittsburgh based company concerned about worker safety?

Alcoa, Inc., whose operation headquarters are in Pittsburgh, has for a long time been focusing on employee safety. Though the company was in the top third of companies for least amount of worker production lost due to injuries, the company's CEO continues to state that he is determined to bring the number of workers injured down to zero.

Much of the mindset of the company changed after an 18-year old work at Alcoa died on the job due to an occupational injury. The CEO of the company then summoned executives and union leaders to his office in Pittsburgh and was quoted as saying, "We killed him." After changes in policy were made and money was put into the company to make working conditions safer, Alcoa has since 1991 reduced its number of injuries by approximately 50 percent.

Alcoa's current lost-workday status is about a 20th of the United States average for corporations. And rather than face a financial shortage because of the expensive safety procedures that the company has implemented, Alcoa has performed better than a number of competitors and now controls close to a sixth of global aluminum output in the United States.

The lesson is that there is no longer an excuse for companies that will jettison worker safety in return for corporate profits. The penalties companies lose for lost worker production, worker compensation payments and potential multi-million dollar figures owed due to litigation and settlement of lawsuits outweigh any expense a company will face in improving worker safety.

Hopefully companies across Pennsylvania will emulate what Alcoa has done in making changes to their workers' environment.

Source: Bloomberg, "With Safety, Alcoa Showed Its Mettle (Part 3)," by William J. Bratton and Zachary Tumin, Jan 12, 2012

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
20 Stanwix Street, Seventh Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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