Everyone likes to imagine their workplace is safe and always will be. Some people may be more aware of the potential for accidents in the workplace. Certain industries, such as construction, mining, and others, have a reputation for being more dangerous than others.
Nonetheless, workplace safety is important in each and every workplace, whether it’s an office or the floor of a warehouse or a construction site. When you understand how a workplace accident could affect your business, you’ll be better prepared to ensure your workplace is truly safe.
Some Facts about Workplace Accidents
Workplace accidents can and do happen anywhere. You may think you have the safest work environment possible, but an accident can still happen. An employee may climb a ladder to change a lightbulb and take a tumble. Maybe someone slips on a wet floor.
These are minor accidents, but they still affect the safety of your workplace and they can have far-reaching effects on your business. Of course, some workplaces have reputations for being more accident-prone, such as construction sites and factories.
Each year, nearly 3 million non-fatal workplace accidents take place, in addition to around 5,000 fatalities on the job. With statistics like these, it’s likely there will be an accident, even a minor one, at your workplace at some point.
The Legal Impacts
Workplace safety has been a major concern for government officials, employees, and employers alike for years. As a result, there are laws on the books about workplace safety. As the employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure your workplace is safe for your workers.
You’ll also be required to provide employees with adequate training and report on that training. The Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OSHA) is the federal body dedicated to health and safety in the workplace. You’ll need to report accidents, injuries, and fatalities. The OHSA may decide to investigate or audit your workplace or penalize you if an accident does occur.
An injured employee or the family of an employee who is killed on the job may decide to sue you if they’re advised the accident was a result of employer negligence or failure to enforce safety standards. You may need to pay a settlement or offer ongoing financial support to an injured employee who becomes disabled.
The Financial Dimension
Obviously, some of the costs associated with workplace accidents include potential lawsuits, settlements, and ongoing payments to victims. An employee who becomes disabled may draw on their disability benefits, which creates higher costs for your benefits program, in addition to suing the workplace.
OSHA may assess fines or other penalties. They may ask you to invest more in safety measures, such as upgrading fixtures or providing better training for your employees. These represent costs to your business as well. You may even decide to invest more in safety on your own following an accident.
The Human Costs
It’s easy to attach a dollar amount to an injury after a workplace accident, but these dollar figures don’t adequately account for the human costs of these accidents. You may lose a very bright and productive employee. Whether it’s temporary or permanent, this loss costs your business.
It also costs the employee, who may have reduced opportunities and financial hardship in the future. It affects their family as well, and reduces their quality of life.
Finally, it also affects the workplace environment itself. The loss of an employee to injury may upset the atmosphere of your workplace. Other employees may become wary or even decide to quit if they think they’re likely to be injured.
More Than Rules
The effects of a workplace accident on a business are far-reaching and go beyond getting a slap on the wrist from the OSHA. Take care and look to workplace safety. Creating a safe workplace is in everyone’s best interests.