In case you didn’t get the memo, April is injury prevention month. And while overall rates of work-related injuries remain on the decline, it’s still an issue that employers need to address. Employers should set aside time and resources this month to focus on workplace safety and injury prevention.
Non-Fatal Work-Related Accidents
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor of Statistics (BLR), there were an estimated 3 million reported non-fatal injuries during 2012. This translates into an incidence rate of roughly 3.4 for every 100 reported cases. While some of these injuries were minor — cuts, bruises, etc. — others were more severe, requiring time off from work and/or hospitalization. Non-fatal injuries end up costing employers billions of dollars per year in the form of both direct and indirect costs.
Direct costs typically include medical bills, time off from work, and worker’s compensation, whereas indirect costs include lower morale, broken and/or damaged equipment, overtime pay (other workers must cover the injured employee’s shift), higher insurance premiums, lower morale, more training, inspections, etc. Some employers wrongfully assume that worker’s compensation is the only cost of work-related injuries, but it’s the not-so-obvious indirect costs that hold the heaviest financial burden. Indirect costs of work-relates injuries are often 10-20 times higher than direct costs, so don’t underestimate their impact.
Industry Sectors With The Highest Rate of Fatal Accidents:
As you can see from the BLS image posted above, construction tops the list in terms of fatalities, with 774 reported in 2010. Transportation and warehousing comes in a close second with 661 reported deaths, and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting comes in third with 621 reported deaths. Information and utilities are located at the bottom of the list. The BLS estimates that approximately 12 workers in the U.S. lose their lives on the job each day. This is a grim statistic that should serve as a real eye-opener to employers everywhere, whether your industry is mentioned in the image above or not.
Tips To Encourage Safety In The Workplace:
- Reinforce the importance of safety through ongoing training.
- Recognize and reward employees who practice good safety habits on a regular basis.
- Perform routine inspections of equipment to ensure it’s safe, functional and follows all standard set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
- When an accident occurs, perform an investigation to determine the exact cause and how it can prevented.
- Clean up any spilled chemicals or liquids in a timely manner.
- Create a bulletin board where safety news and information can be displayed.