Is your safety program working?

Workplace injuries are costing employers nearly $60 billion a year, with nearly three million on-the-job injuries each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What’s more, 1.2 million missed work days were reported in 2017 due to injuries.

And did you know that workers took an average of eight days away from the workplace to recuperate from these injuries?

What’s causing so many workplace injuries?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are three primary reasons we’re seeing more injuries in the U.S. workforce:

  1. Work activities are increasingly automated. Technology, computers, and robotics are being integrated into our workplaces, often introducing new and different hazards.
  2. More diversity in the workforce. People from different backgrounds and cultures are working alongside each other more frequently — often speaking different languages and creating communication barriers in the process.
  3. An increasingly aging workforce. The rise of sedentary work and lifestyles means that some workers are at higher risk for work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

The bottom line? Quite a few people are being injured at work. It’s costing employers billions of dollars a year. And it’s because of an increasingly diverse, automated and aging workforce.

If you’re not already doing this, employers need to start thinking about this more proactively. More to the point, they need to start thinking about injury prevention.

All workplaces should have an injury and prevention program in place, which can help you create a work culture where safety comes first.

A safety program not only can help prevent injuries but can help you lower workers’ compensation expense.

It’s easy to imagine the cost to your business in the event of a workplace accident. You’ve got an injured worker and no matter who is to blame, your operations are compromised. That worker is now off the job and lost productivity will be compounded if the incident results in an investigation. And you also open yourself up to a nasty lawsuit even if you are not liable. 

On the other hand, when your workers feel valued by their company and they see that their health and wellbeing matters, they are more likely feel a collective belonging and happier working for you.

In short, a safety program can lead to healthier employees, fewer missed workdays, lower costs to employers, and, perhaps best of all, lower turnover.

About the Author

Larry Hannappel

Larry spent 16 years with Century Casino’s and was instrumental in the start-up and growth of the company through expansions in Canada, South Africa, the Czech Republic, Poland and on several cruise ships as well as in Colorado. He was most recently the SVP, Principal Finance Officer and COO of North American operations for Century Casinos Inc., a multinational, Nasdaq-traded gaming company. Earlier in his career, Larry worked at the Johns Manville Corp. Larry spent 13 years in various accounting and finance functions in the company’s fiberglass manufacturing division and was key in the start-up of a molding plant in Indiana. Larry and his wife Kathy and three children live in Colorado. He enjoys four-wheeling, motorcycling, golfing, skiing and brewing beer.

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