The True Costs of Workplace Accidents

Construction_worker_at_Westlake_Center,_1988The economies of the world are getting more competitive and any company that wants to compete on a global scale must be able to rise to the occasion. To provide the best product or service, your team has to show up to work every day prepared to meet the challenges of the market. When an employee is missing from the roster and the team is short a worker, the organization loses its competitive edge.

Fill in the Gaps

Most companies are not built to waste money on extra employees; rather, they are set up with the most efficient team structures in mind. Franchises and stores with multiple locations normally follow a plan mmodeled off of the assumption of experienced personnel dedicated to the success of the company, with every necessary hand on deck and very little excess.

Once everyone is trained to the point of proficiency the company uses that template to establish, in cookie cutter fashion, subsequent stores are modeled off of the original success. The teams that follow are often minimalized to keep labor costs down and reduce waste. When an employee is injured and loses work, the entire organization can suffer — there may not be any allowance at all for mitigating the affects on workload.

Employees lost due to injury carry a greater cost than meets the eye. The costs of training and replacing employees is enormous and prohibitive. In industries that are service-oriented, the relationships that employees develop with customers and consumers are a vital part of daily operations. Most people buy products from people and organizations they know and trust. If a client-involved employee is suddenly missing from that equation, it can disrupt the existing dynamic for the worse.

Associated Costs

The injury, itself, can be expensive. Upon notice of an injury, there are processes and protocols that must be adhered to. OSHA policies for injury reporting are very thorough, very strict, and the consequences for a company failing to adhere to them can be heavy. A workplace injury requires involvement from human resources and the safety program administrator in order to ensure the employee receives the necessary care and that procedures are being followed. Services like those found at exist to help employers with exactly this kind of training and accountability. While a majority of injuries are not life threatening, companies must protect themselves from tort action in the event of negligence or malice.

The labor lost is not just the injured employee. Other labor hours lost are those of management as they look to handle the incident properly, the teammates who must compensate for the lost employee, and all of the parties involved in the follow-up care after the incident. If the incident is severe enough that the press or police become involved, there is an even greater loss of time by nearly everyone, as meetings are held, and interviews given. The opportunities for incidents to receive nationwide attention are also all too prevalent. With the ability of anyone to upload videos to the internet and for these to gain public visibility, organizations must exercise great care in how they handle work-related incidents.

The Necessary Care

Injuries can take many forms and have many different outcomes. Most companies carry workers comp insurance as required by law. The insurance covers a multitude of scenarios, and includes lost time and other impacts. If an employee is severely injured and must be off work for six months, the labor costs for replacing the employee while still maintaining the open position for that employee can be expensive. In most cases, companies must maintain a position for injured employees equal to the position they had been working at the time of the incident. If the injury is long term and the employee purchased insurance to supplement the workers comp, they will be in a better position. Doctors that work for companies have to exercise care to remain objective — sending employees back to work to save a company money is bad for the long term. The labor hours lost are not worth the trouble of malpractice and lawsuits.

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