Safety first. No exceptions.
Safety is the right thing to do for your employees, and the smart thing to do for your company’s bottom line. Nothing is more important. If you have even a glimmer of doubt, simply speak to a family member whose loved one has suffered a major injury – or worse – when all they expected was to have them come home from work that night for dinner.
The Hidden Costs of Safety Incidents
Direct medical expenses are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the total cost of safety incidents. Indirect costs can be four to 10 times the amount of direct costs, which include ER and doctor visits, over-the-counter and prescription medications, and rehab bills.
- A $2,000 clinic visit could cost you up to $20,000 in lost productivity, administrative time, insurance increases, OSHA involvement, morale and media attention.
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that for construction workers, each non-fatal injury or illness in 2015 resulted in a median number of 13 days away from work. Add to that lost time for other employees who have to stop work to treat their injured colleague – as well as supervisors needed to investigate the root cause of incidents, tools or machinery that need repair or replacement, spills that need to be cleaned up, training costs to replace injured workers, and legal fees and management time spent dealing with regulators and attorneys.
- According to a 2017 study, workplace injuries that caused employees to miss six or more days of work cost U.S. employers $59.9 billion in 2014, the most recent year for which statistically valid data is available.
How to Reduce Your Risk
As an employer, you have administrative and engineering controls and PPE in place to lower injury risk. But, do you cultivate a culture of safety throughout your organization?
- Make sure every employee buys into your safety program. Clearly communicate ongoing efforts to make the workplace safer for everyone. At one company which manufactures fasteners for the aerospace industry, hand lacerations are common, as machines produce a lot of metal chips. When the company introduced a new type of safety glove, there was apprehension at first. Then, management brought in various samples and got employees involved in trying them out. The plant safety committee was called upon to make final selections, and a bar-coded Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) was implemented to maintain glove supplies. Within two months, the company saw a 20 percent reduction in hand lacerations.
According to the National Safety Council, every $1 invested in injury prevention results in returns between $2 and $6.
- Offer the right PPE. Sprains and strains account by far for the most injuries in five key industry sectors: construction, manufacturing, retail, educational and health services, and leisure and hospitality. These injuries can be prevented using such products as back supports, body belts, hydraulic hand trucks and anti-skid tape. Cuts, lacerations and punctures can be avoided by using protective gloves, glasses, clothing and face shields. And you can save workers from a variety of injuries with equipment including barricade lights, mirrors and clear, well-placed signage.
Partner with Lyons HR PEO!
When managing safety, risk and other HR functions that can drain your team of time and energy, a professional employer organization (PEO) can help ease the load and keep your business compliant, cost-effective and competitive. Lyons HR is an ESAC-accredited PEO specializing in the light industrial, automotive, administrative and professional sectors. To explore a partnership for the future of your company, contact us today.