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Perspective: Working better together, keeping Missouri workplaces safe

Perspective: Working better together, keeping Missouri workplaces safe

September 10th, 2017 by Anna S. Hui in Opinion
<p>Anna S. Hui</p>

Missouri had a lot to celebrate this Labor Day. With more jobs than ever before and our job growth outpacing the nation, it's no accident more businesses are taking notice of our state for growth and investment.

This momentum is a result of the hard-working men and women of the Missouri workforce coming to work day-in and day-out, providing for their families and contributing to their local communities. Our workforce is our state's greatest asset. Ensuring that workplaces are safe and fair for every Missourian is vital to our success.

We know our mission to create more quality jobs must also include a renewed commitment to workplace safety. Many of these new jobs will be in high hazard industries like construction and manufacturing.

That is why, this September, we will be launching a department wide initiative entitled "Working Better Together," focused on ways we can partner with businesses and workers to ensure safety while supporting growth.

Businesses looking to reduce costs, out of pocket expenses, and decrease workplace injuries should take advantage of the no-cost, confidential safety programs offered by the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR). Programs such as the On-Site Consultation and Mine Safety and Health, identified more than 5,500 workplace hazards last fiscal year. Year to date, both programs combined have helped employers avoid more than $9 million in federal fines.

For too long, a call from the state meant trouble for businesses. That has to change. DOLIR's mission is simple "To promote industry and labor and to protect the rights and safety of Missouri's workforce." We fulfill our mission best by working with businesses and workers, not against them; before issues arise, not after.

The DOLIR will share various safety messages, tips and videos throughout September to increase the awareness and importance of safe and healthy workplaces. We will highlight to employers our proactive services that help them keep workplaces safe and operating costs low.

We look forward to being a partner in Missouri's path to becoming the best state in the nation to open a business and encourage businesses and workers to reach out to us directly with feedback on how we can do better.

Anna S. Hui is the acting director of the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.