Workplace accidents impact employees and employers. Not only does a person experience (severe) physical harm, they may also experience emotional trauma and financial loss. While employers on the other hand, face the direct costs of the trauma, such as the medical expenses. Don’t forget the indirect costs of, for example, hiring replacement staff, lost productivity, reputation, etc. On top of that, an employer can be confronted with a fine for a lack of safety measures. The costs of a fall are enormous, which is why fall prevention always pays off.
This article distinguishes costs from workplace injuries caused by a fall from height and falls that lead to fatalities. In addition this article contains a fall accident infographic.
Let us dive into the numbers. The data by the National Safety Council (NSC)1 shows that 25 percent of all nonfatal work-related injuries involving days away from work are caused by slips, trips and falls. Out of this category 48.060 people suffered an injury due to a fall from height that had kept them away from work for more than one day. Typically an injury caused by a slip, trip or fall had people stay away from work for 12 days.
The annual Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index 2 details the costs of the top 10 nonfatal work-related injuries. These events result in employees missing six days or more of work. Falls from height cost businesses about $5.85 billion in direct compensation costs. However, this index does not calculate indirect costs or the costs of an OSHA fine.
A quick calculation shows that a fall from height costs approximately $122.763 in compensation costs ($5.9 billion / 48060 cases). But the costs of an injury go far beyond monetary value. There are incidents which leave employees crippled. Being unable to return to work or having to look for an entirely different sort of work. This brings along emotional stress.3
Fatal falls in the USA
Fatal falls have an even bigger impact on businesses and lives. In 2016, a total of 697 employees died after a fall to a lower level. A staggering number of lives lost that could, most likely, have been prevented if proper measures were taken.
We look at calculations made by the National Safety Council. The estimate is that a fatal injury at work costs approximately $ 1.120.000.3 This estimation takes into account the costs of a fatal fall, such as insurance and compensation, but this estimate will never fully include the loss of a loved one. True costs cannot be expressed in money as a family will have lost a vital member.
Fall protection equipment
To prevent injuries and fatalities, fall protection equipment has to be used for workplaces where fall hazards exist. As an employer you are responsible for providing your people with a safe workplace. Of course, for your information, this includes providing fall protection measures. As you’ll probably know these measures are quite literally live savers and help prevent costly injuries or fatalities.
A company that focuses on safety saves money.
We would like to mention several studies that have shown for instance that companies that focus on safety have a higher productivity, produce better quality goods or services and are more profitable. Workers engaged in a company’s safety program are also 5 times less likely to get hurt that their non-engaged counterparts.4 Above all, it is safe to say that safety definitely pays off. So work on your safety program. Don’t gamble on safety, ever.
Download fall accident infographic
To ensure everyone knows that the cost of a fall are extensive and to get everyone on board with safety, we’ve put together an infographic describing the costs of a fall, which can be downloaded here. More information about safety? Contact us. In other words, we can help with creating a safe workplace.
4 “Employee engagement and commitment,” Effective Practice Guidelines, Robert Vance, Society of Human Resource Management, 2006