Why an Unsafe Construction Workplace Equals More Time and Money

November 4, 2022

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that companies spend one billion dollars every week for direct worker's compensation due to workplace accidents. Furthermore, according to research published by the American Society of Safety Engineers, the aftermath of a fatal accident may go "far beyond" a financial cost to an organization. Not only can it pose a major threat to the mental health of your workers, but it also can reduce their productivity over time.

However, the fact that managing an unsafe workplace comes at a definite financial cost is something that cannot be disputed. This expense could be incurred as a result of risky procedures, inadequate training, or failure to provide a secure working environment for your employees. Consequences may include obtaining a costly OSHA ticket or having to undergo months of litigation. We'll be looking at how accidents cost more time and money in the construction industry and what you can do to make the workplace safer.

Accident Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in 2014, a total of 4,679 persons lost their lives due to accidents that took place in the workplace. This is a 2% increase from 2013 when the figure was 4,585. Injuries resulting in death increased by 17% (181) in mining, by 9% (341) in manufacturing, and by 6% (875) in the building industry. In 2014, the number of slips, trips, and falls involving workers rose by 10% (793). You can go here to learn more about workplace accidents and what should be done in such cases.

High Number of Citations

If your workplace does not have sufficient health and safety procedures, you are at risk of receiving a penalty from OSHA. OSHA has created a map of the most expensive tickets issued in 2015, which surpass $40,000 in total. For example, a construction company located in Illinois was charged close to $2 million for ten severe and thirty willful offenses.

Similarly, a manufacturer in Wisconsin was fined close to $2 million and a shipyard in North Carolina was fined $101,600 for 16 significant safety violations and 1 repeat offense. According to Occupational Health and Safety, the OSHA standard that was violated the most frequently in 2013 was Fall Protection, resulting in 8,176 citations and $20 million in fines. In addition, specialty trade contractors paid over $48 million in penalties, while smaller corporations paid over $70 million, and bigger enterprises paid only $16.2 million.

Time Lost

In America, injuries cause a tremendous amount of downtime for workers. While the average amount of time lost per occurrence is 4 weeks, over 50,000 of such injuries necessitate at least 1 entire week of missed work. Twenty-five percent of workers injured on the job had to miss work for 12 weeks or more. These numbers reflect significant amounts of missed time for both the individual and the business, which has a detrimental effect on profitability and output.

Mining

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, corporations frequently spend around $1 billion every week on worker compensation. And this is in addition to the expense of construction legal representation incurred if the employees decide to sue. The cost of lost time and productivity is significantly higher. High-risk vocations include those of machinery operators, laborers, technologists, and tradesmen.

Due to the nature of their employment and the possible dangers they are exposed to, these workers are the most susceptible to injury on a mine site. To ensure the safety of these high-risk professions, it is crucial to employ the appropriate mitigation measures. Creating fewer occurrences, reducing time lost, and enhancing efficiency.

Litigation Risks

Unquestionably, financial risks are a significant expense, but a rising number of accidents and injuries result in months-long legal proceedings. According to a new report by Norton Rose Fulbright, which questioned 401 people and analyzed litigation patterns, 44% of respondents in the construction business were the subject of regulatory procedures, and the number of enterprises spending more than $1 million on litigation increased to 71% from 55% a few years earlier. The report also indicated that 42% of organizations choose that alternative when facing a prolonged legal procedure, and construction and engineering enterprises are most inclined to do so.

How to Minimize Workplace Accidents

Injuries and illnesses in the workplace may be reduced by as much as 40 percent when the proper health and safety management system is in place, according to OSHA. This implementation begins with the preparation of a strategy to guarantee compliance with OSHA laws and regulations governing workplace safety.

By instituting safe practices in the workplace, you may boost morale, efficiency, productivity, and employee retention for yourself and your team. When employees aren't certain of their safety, they may look elsewhere for employment if they need to feel secure in their working conditions. Understanding the full consequences of an unsafe workplace is crucial for businesses since the potential costs of harmful practices and working conditions go far beyond monetary loss.

The Bottom Line

Certification and adherence to OSHA standards are vital components of a safe workplace. By establishing a framework with certified procedures and equipment, you can be certain that your employees will be working in the safest settings possible, and that the tools they'll be utilizing have been tested and found suitable for the tasks at hand. Certification and conformity with the Standards help make the work environment safer, ensure that equipment and processes are evaluated for high performance, instill trust in operators to complete their tasks in a safe place, and, eventually, bring down costs.

 

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