Many businesses in California are faced with the dilemma or either improving safety or improving their survival. Only rarely can businesses do both. Now, an international study has found that the older and larger a company is, the more it can afford to neglect worker safety. In fact, such companies are able to survive up to 56% longer by facing claims in the wake of worker injuries.

Researchers focused on the survival, over a 25-year period, of more than 100,000 Oregon-based companies. They found that well-established companies can increase profits and productivity if they simply pay the fines for safety violations and face workers’ compensation claims. This was especially true of those companies with over 100 employees. The same positive outcome would hold until quarterly claims exceeded $9 million.

For companies with fewer than 30 employees, though, it makes little to no difference to their survival if they face or do not face workers’ compensation claims. As for why claims would improve survival, researchers were unable to give an explanation.

It’s clear that current regulations are not providing enough of an incentive for companies, in particular those with sufficient resources, to maintain a safe workplace. Researchers say that new regulations should be made that encourage innovative ways to boost both safety and productivity at the same time.

In the event of an injury on the job, the victim may pursue a workers’ compensation case regardless of who was liable. If the employer was obviously neglecting safety, it will be much easier to receive the benefits that the victim deserves. However, an employer does have the right to deny payment, so it may be a good idea to retain a lawyer. The lawyer may help file the claim and any appeals as well as explain the settlement process.