Here's what the American Society of Safety Engineers says about making a business case for workplace safety:

The key question asked of many safety, health and environmental professionals by financial planners in business and industry is: Do safety and health management programs improve a company's bottom line?

The answer is a resounding "YES," although benefits may be somewhat hard to quantify.

But in addition to outright savings on workers' compensation benefit claims, civil liability damages and litigation expenses, having a solid safety and health management program with senior management commitment will improve productivity and employee morale. It can also make the difference between winning and losing bids and even government contracts.

ASSE's position statement: "The implementation, maintenance and improvement of safety, health and environmental programs are of significant importance to this country as the economy of the United States moves toward more of a global perspective. Such programs positively impact all Americans and specifically those who work at all levels of the public and private sectors in technology development, manufacturing, training, financial analysis, personnel, academia as well as the final end-user.

"An effective SH&E program not only benefits and protects the organizations implementing such a program, but also furthers the interests of the United States in a globally competitive environment.

"ASSE knows from data and anecdotal information that investment in a SH&E program is a sound business strategy, for any organization regardless of size, and will lead to having a positive impact on the financial bottom line. ASSE calls on governmental agencies such as OSHA and EPA to do more to show that SH&E management is more than simple compliance. The private and public sector should be encouraged to work together to show American business and industry that SH&E is not only required under the law, but should become and remain a core business strategy."