Worker Safety and the Cost of Ignoring It
Focusing on Safety Compliance through a Proactive Preventative Maintenance Program Can Reduce Workplace Injuries and Associated Costs
Workplace injuries hurt everyone, from employees and their families, to employers and even our national healthcare system and it costs more than you think. Companies in Ontario spent $52M paying for work-related compensation and other losses in 2015, and this number doesn’t even reflect the amount of injury-related time lost and setbacks that affect a company’s yearly profits. Maintaining health and safety compliance by implementing proactive procedures is the number one way to help avoid workplace injuries and increase worker safety. Evaluating the safety of working conditions on a daily basis can help ensure you’re making the most out of today for a safer tomorrow.
In this article, we’re going to show you which industries are most at risk and how you can avoid work-related fatalities, workplace injuries and illnesses.
Don’t Be a Workplace Injuries Statistic!
Workplace injuries happen every day. A study conducted by the University of Regina revealed there were 303 injury-related fatalities and 548 occupational disease fatalities that occurred across Canada in 2015 alone. Ontario and Quebec had the highest number of injury-related fatalities (69), while Ontario reported the highest number of occupational disease-related deaths (212). In that same year, over 231,700 lost- injury claims were accepted by WCB (Workers Compensation Board)/WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board), with Quebec reporting the highest number of these claims (65,859).
Industries with the Highest Work-Related Fatalities Need to Implement Improved Worker Safety Protocols to Reduce Preventable Fatalities
It’s not surprising that the industries with the highest percentage of work-related fatalities are the manufacturing and construction sectors, accounting for almost 32% of total fatalities across Canada in 2015 according to the Association Of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC). Since these sectors have greater occupational hazards, including unpredictable working environments, dangerous machinery, etc., it’s only natural that employees face a much higher risk of injury on the job site every day.
In 2014, the AWCBC reported that nearly six out of 10 (58.9%) fatalities for the year were caused by occupational disease — something mostly preventable with the use of personal protective equipment like face masks, safety/work gloves, and earmuffs.
Consequences for Employers Including Insurance Payouts, Fines and Lost Productivity
Besides the physical and emotional trauma that workers and their families experience after a workplace injury, companies are left dealing with hefty fines, time loss, decreases in productivity, and more.
In fact, companies in Ontario spent $52M paying for work-related compensation and other losses in 2015, while organizations big and small are being fined millions each year for violations against the Ministry of Labour’s employee health and safety act.
In addition to the copious amount of fines and claims that companies are left paying, work-place injuries affect the company’s ability to complete work and run at optimal efficiency. As stated earlier, industries with a higher number of occupational hazards are at greater risk for more frequent and more severe injuries and the resulting productivity losses.
In 2014, the construction sector accounted for 11% of the total number of lost-time injuries for all sectors in Ontario—higher than its share of WSIB-covered employment (9%), overall employment (7%) and the province’s gross domestic product (6%). Similarly, a report done by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) shows that injured workers in the mining industry experienced a median 31 days off work – over 38% more than the next-highest industry.
How a Health and Safety Preventative Maintenance Program Brings Improvements to Companies
Implementing a health and safety preventative maintenance program does more than you think. In a report done by the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2004, companies who entered into a Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), saw considerable improvements in not only work-place injuries but also their overall workplace culture.
The biggest improvement reported by these companies was employee pride and morale since workers began feeling safer and more supported by management. There were also improvements in communication, employee knowledge and awareness of hazards, better programs and training, decreased accident rate, and increased employee participation.
One of the most noticeable changes was the decrease in workers compensation and liability insurance costs, especially in the construction and manufacturing industries. In general, companies who entered SHARP reported their worker’s compensation rating dropping from 1.08 to 0.72, a saving of over $10,000 per year.
Becoming more proactive in worker safety and health also helps:
- Reduce employee turnover and absences
- Improve stress and change management coping
- Increase job productivity and satisfaction
- Reduce workplace injuries
- Improve company image
4 Simple Ways to be Proactive about Worker Safety
Small steps every day can make a difference and employers should ensure:
1) All workers have access to the Occupational Health and Safety policies for their workplace and are continuously informed of updates to health and safety conditions and policies.
2) Workplaces have an on-site supervisor who is responsible for health and safety at all times
3) Appropriate and CPA-approved personal protective equipment (PPE) is available and workers are fully trained on how and when to use it.
4) Employees and management are aware of all hazards/risks on the job site
Proactively Prioritizing Worker Safety Saves Companies Money and Minimizes Risk of Workplace Injuries
Some sectors and work activities are more hazardous by their nature; it’s imperative that proper safety training, gear, and equipment are provided and kept up-to-date on a continuous basis. Not only does this save employees physical and emotional trauma and company’s money, but it also creates a better work environment for everyone. Your local safety specialist distributor is an excellent starting point towards designing an effective in-house safety preventative maintenance program that puts the safety of your employees at the forefront.
If you would like more information, feel free to visit/contact:
Act First Safety: www.actfirstsafety.ca