The Cost of Job-Related Falls and Work Injury
Direct Costs from Workplace Falls
There are good reasons why employers pay for compensation insurance in the event an employee is injured on the job. There are direct and indirect injury costs from any workplace accident. These costs include compensation payments to the employee. These costs are paid through the companies insurance.
Indirect Costs from Workplace Falls
Indirect costs to the employer for an employee workplace fall includes the hiring, testing, screenings, and training of a new employee temporarily. Costs are incurred for time spent in investigations and measure implemented to correct the deficiency, lost of company productivity, repair or replacement of damaged equipment, costs to facilitate lower employee morale, and call-offs.
Not only does a work injury cost the employer and the employee a lot of money, but also falls impose negatively on the economy. As of 2016, close to $70 billion per year throughout the United States was the cost of work-related falls. This calculation included workers’ compensation and all medical costs. Lawsuits were not calculated into this cost.
The calculated cost of falls in the workplace on an individual basis calculates to about $38,000. Included in this cost were employee wages, productivity loss, drug screens, testing for temporary staff to meet the demand while the injured employee healed, and medical expenses. These costs can sore even higher if the employer was found at fault or negligent, and a lawsuit is filed by the employee. Employers who put off sending the injured employee for medical treatment the overall cost is higher.
For example, if an injured employee has a $60,000 accident and injury claim, the total cost to that company could be upwards to $82,000 or more due to a rise in additional insurance premiums. When all cost is calculated, the total cost for an individual could be well over $100,000 per employee!
When employers fail to educate and make available to all employees risk education and awareness and document their efforts, OSHA can place expensive fines on the employer for violations enacted.
When an employer refuses or neglects to educate employees on fall safety risks, OSHA can fine that employer thousands of dollars. Fines increase when the employer continues to violate these government regulations. It is the responsibility of every employer to have available the proper safety precautions and tools.
As OSHA makes its yearly visit, the employer must be in strict compliance with the law. Remaining continually out of compliance means that the company is at risk of having its doors closed permanently due to the citations placed. Statistics report that since the start of OSHA, work-related injuries and death in the workplace have drastically declined.
Companies are in business to make money. When the business is ordered to close due to continued violations in the workplace, everyone loses. The boss loses their company, and the employees are out of a job, a no-win situation.
Recovery can be a long, expensive, and painful journey for an injured employee. The employee collects a percentage of their regular wages while they are off work recovering if they do not die in the process.
New hires must have drug screenings and background checks before starting on the job. These tests are expensive to the employer. However, the employer has no choice but to pay the costs as they need to hire someone temporarily. This may involve paying out more money for employment paperwork, testing, and training of the new employee who is only temporary.
If the injured employee is in a lot of pain and the recovery is long, they can get addicted to painkillers. After the healing process, that employee may need to seek addiction help, and the employer will no doubt have to pay for rehabilitation therapy.
If the injured employee dies from an on-the-job fall or injury, it is a sure bet that their family has grounds to sue an employer for damages. The employer can lose their company in a lawsuit.
Job-Related Falls, Workplace injuries from falls, and Death related to Workplace Falls
Employees are subject to falls in the workplace every day, with thousands of incidents reported to employers across the United States. There may or may not be risk factors involved with the fall. Falls add extra paperwork and expense for the employee and employer who may already not have enough time in the day to do their job.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace falls, resulting in the death of the employee is the number one cause of death on the job.
Employees must adhere to a time frame, as set into law, for reporting any falls and injuries on the job to their employer. This sets in motion a paper trail for both the employer and employee.
Who is to Blame for a Work-Related Injury?
Both the employer and employee can be negligent on the job, which increases the risk for a workplace injury. If the employer was negligent and caused the mishap, the employee may have grounds to sue the employer. All employers are bound by state laws in any state to give, at least yearly, an in-service to employees on slip and fall prevention and the best ways to decrease this risk.
Employers report thousands of workplace injuries from slip and trips, to falls, and death from falls each year.
What Causes Increased Risk for Falls in the Workplace?
There is an endless list of fall risk possibilities while on the job. It is understandable why employees become nervous about employee injuries. Responsibility for decreasing fall risk in the workplace is the resposnibility of both the employer and employee. Not only are falls a high risk on the job, but the possibility of death from a fall is greater depending on the job field.
Research states that death from falls on the job reaches a seventeen percent level for job-related fatalities. These percentage figures were a calculation of reported deaths in 2017.
Jobs Creating the Highest Risk for Work-Related Falls
The majority of work-related falls stems mostly from employees rushing, not paying attention to the here and now, being negligent on the job, not wearing the proper, required tools for the job, and taking unnecessary chances that could increase fall risk.
Employees whose job is off the ground have increased the risk of falls. Every profession has required tools for trade such as ladders, scaffoldings, and roof work. Most larger corporations and small business are installing pre fab anti-slip metal stairs. This type of stairs can help decrease the risk of falls and injury on the job.
The more dangerous the job the higher the risk for falls and death are present. The following jobs entail a higher risk for falls such as, but not limited to:
- Marine Workers
- Construction workers (reported the highest number of falls, and on-the-job injuries, and death)
- Aircraft Pilots
- Refuse Workers
- The Steel Industry
- The Military
- Truck Drivers
- Industrial Machinists
- Construction Workers
- Maintenance Workers
- Heating and Air Conditioning Specialists
- Auto Mechanics
- Hospital Employees
When these professionals fail to use the necessary tools and take precautionary measures protecting the employee from the risk of falls, injuries, and the possibility of death, employer negligence occurs. Some necessary on the job equipment can be hard hats, non-slip shoes, and prefab metal stairs that help to decrease fall risk, safety harnesses, and more.
What Part Does Occupational Safety, OSHA, and NIOSH Play in the Workforce?
These two government agencies set rules and regulations in place for every employer to strictly follow. The employer is obligated to in service all employees at least yearly on these strick workplace rules and regulations.
This is a Federal law, enacted to help decrease falls, work injuries, and death in the workplace when these rules and regulations are strictly followed as outlined. These government entities investigate businesses at least yearly, generally with an unannounced visit, tour, and investigate falls, injuries, and death occurrences in that company. Employers are obligated to make available for employees in-service meetings, information regarding falls and injuries, slip and fall prevention in the workplace, training, and equipment.