The biggest and non-measurable cost of a safety failure might be of the personal kind. A lost limb or years of mental rehabilitation can force an individual to adopt a completely new lifestyle and even self-identity. It’s hard to define how to put a price tag on those types of incidents.
Fatal injuries, where people actually get killed at completing their tasks, are also unquestionably beyond what we can economically quantify. Besides the one being killed, there are several other direct stakeholders such as family and friends, coworkers and other parties that suffer from it.
These accidents also directly impact the company’s bottom line. An injured employee easily means countless lost man hours and quickly adds up to not only billions but trillions of euros in company’s expenses.
Only in the US the costs of non-fatal injuries and occupational diseases account for more than estimated $450B. Similarly, fatal injuries in 2013 accounted for the estimated $214B in the US. From a company’s perspective, the expenses do not add up only because of lost in productivity, but also because of the increasing insurance costs.
Another big loss to a company comes from decreased work morale and increased employee retention. People want to feel safe. It comes as no surprise if employees’ work morale decreases after seeing, for instance, a coworker fall of a lifting track because of inadequate safety measures. And the best people tend to leave first.
Occupational safety affects company reputation and productivity. Companies of all forms and from all fields should really take a look at their occupational safety.
All the previously mentioned reasons are enough to drive a possible change needed at a workplace. We are also living in an era when anyone can update their social media profiles of bad management experiences or post a review of the company. No company should want a possible future recruit to read online that the workplace is not investing in occupational safety.
It might soon lead to a situation where the HR department receives less and fewer applications from good candidates.
It is evident that even the smallest acts of not taking care of employees’ health and safety are a huge concern for companies both big and small. But the concern should not initially come from complaints in social media.
Willingness and interest to invest in occupational safety should strive from a sincere interest in employees’ safety and health and therefore also company’s productivity and growth. This again can be turned into a huge asset in improving employee retention and hiring the best people.
Occupational safety creates new opportunities. Instead of just seeing occupational safety as hazards and costs which should be controlled and limited, another viewpoint is to embrace it as an untapped opportunity.