For some businesses, workplace injuries are an unavoidable fact of life but for other businesses, some preventative measures can help save significant costs in lost labor, medical bills, and other expenses that businesses are obligated to pay, which impacts the bottom line.
While, overall, workplaces are getting safer, the costs to businesses range around $55 billion in payments to workers and for medical expenses. Add in administrative, compliance and other costs that a business must bear, and you quickly realize the amount of money that injuries cost our economy, the businesses, and workers that are a part of it are astronomical.
The most common industries for workplace injuries are manufacturing, health care, construction, professional services, retail, wholesale, transportation and warehousing, and leisure and hospitality. However, there is no “average” injury as not every accident, its location, or its consequences are equal. The cost of just the top 10 most disabling workplace injuries is more than $45 billion combined, a large sum that could be invested in growing a business or workplace training.
Here’s how they break down according to the 2019 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index:
- Overexertion involving outside sources: $13.11 billion
- Falls on the same level: $10.38 billion
- Struck by an object or equipment: $5.22 billion
- Falls to a lower level: $4.98 billion
- Other exertions or bodily reactions: $3.69 billion
- Roadway incidents involving motorized vehicle: $2.70 billion
- Slip or trip without falling: $2.18 billion
- Caught in or compressed by equipment or objects: $1.93 billion
- Repetitive motions involving microtasks: $1.59 billion
- Struck against object or equipment: $1.15 billion
Many of these causes of injury are familiar to us all as we have seen employees, co-workers, friends, and family fall victim to some of these all too common maladies. Both employers and workers can and should be more cognizant of use of equipment, design of equipment where in some cases a re-design to be more user-friendly may be in order, placement of equipment or other objects, and use of and range of motion to help reduce the amount of and severity of claims.
For some employers, workplace accidents can become a significant liability to potential or ongoing projects. For some employees, workplace accidents can be a debilitating, or, in some cases, a life-altering experience that can change the course of their workplace trajectory. Some accidents are unavoidable, but there are others which can be avoided through the use of more safety and prevention education, ensuring all safeguards required by law are in place in addition to some pro-active measures which may not be required but can help reduce the cost and impact of workplace safety claims. Every business and employee should have the opportunity to be successful, and an accident-free workplace is an integral part of that success. Taking a few preventative steps can avoid both the overall financial cost of these accidents to businesses and personal cost of an accident to an otherwise promising and hard-working employee.
Costa Ivone, LLC
311 N Aberdeen St #100B, Chicago, IL 60607