Having or not having good management and compliance on safety procedures at the workplace can significantly impact companies in many ways, including economic costs such as compensation claims, legal costs or expenses to repair damaged equipment and property. When incidents happen at the workplace, compensation payments and medical expenses need to be covered, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Today we share our findings on what some costs resulting from an unsafe workplace that companies may face in the US.
According to the Workplace Safety Index done by Liberty Mutual, in 2015 employers paid more than $1 billion per week for workers’ compensation costs. On the other hand, the National Safety Council estimates that the average of a workers’ compensation claim is $40,000.
The most costly workers’ compensation claims cause of injury were motor-vehicle crashes, averaging $78,289. The next highest claim costs were for burns and falls or slips. The most costly workers’ compensation claims by nature of injury result from amputations, averaging $98,126 per worker. Other higher costs are related to fractures and dislocation injuries.
Other costs resulting from the lack of safety procedures at the workplace are legal fines. For instance, last month there was a case of a company specialized in tire recycling that was cited by OSHA for serious health and safety violations. The amount of the penalties is over $58,000.
Multiple irregularities were identified. Safety violations included piles of shredded rubber greater than 20 feet without protection to prevent collapse into the work area, high exposure of employees being struck by something and a tractor without a functional audible back-up alarm.
However, there are other costs related that can be “hidden”. Although indirect costs are not immediately seen, they can affect companies in the long term. Actually, the National Safety Council estimates that indirect costs are $2.12 for every $1 spent on direct costs.
These indirect costs include lost productivity, damages of the equipment involved in the incident, hiring and training temporary workers, delays of projects, accident investigation and implementation of corrective measures, damage to company’s reputation as well as damage to the confidence of employees, stakeholders and customers, and much more.
Having safety procedures is essential in every industry as well as having the right resources, tools and equipment that add value to employee and workplace safety. According to OSHA, when employers implement effective safety and health systems or make improvements and changes at their workplace can significantly expect to reduce injuries and illnesses as well as reduce costs associated with these incidents.
Kwema helps companies deescalate the safety risks that employees face every day at their workplace by providing them wearables that activate an emergency response, alerting the safety staff or 911. Our devices are designed to avoid adoption hurdles and training costs by being placed in something employees already wear.
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