Tennessee residents who work for a large and well-established company may have some cause to fear that their safety is being neglected. The fact is that most businesses cannot adequately balance safety concerns with the concern for making a profit. Yet the older and larger a company is, the longer it can thrive if it ignores workplace safety and faces the consequences such as fines and workers’ compensation claims.

This was the conclusion of an international study that looked at the survival of more than 100,000 organizations, all based in Oregon, over a course of 25 years. Researchers, looking at the disabling claims that each company faced, calculated that companies that face claims can survive up to 56% longer than companies that maintain a safe workplace and do not face as many claims.

Such advantages, though, only present themselves to companies with more than 100 employees, and they can continue to be seen until the company’s quarterly claims exceed $9 million: a level that few companies would ever reach to begin with. For businesses that employ fewer than 30 people, facing or not facing workers’ comp claims makes no difference.

Researchers could not explain why facing claims boosts survival. Authors of the study push for new regulations that encourage innovative methods for improving both survival and workers’ safety at the same time.

As for those who were injured on the job because they were not, for example, given sufficient safety training or equipment, they can pursue a workers’ compensation case. Though employers have the right to deny payment, employers that clearly failed to look after their employees could find it hard to exercise this right. Still, victims may want legal representation. If their claim is denied, they may have their lawyer file an appeal on their behalf.