This year, it is estimated that over 4 million workers will suffer a job-related illness or injury and roughly 4,500 workers will die on the job.
These statistics are tragic and the costs associated with them are sobering. So, what can you do to avoid these tragic incidents and protect your workers while keeping your costs low?
Injury and Illness Prevention Program
An injury and illness prevention program is the secret ingredient to avoid becoming another statistic. By identifying hazards in the workplace beforehand, an employer can eliminate risks before an accident occurs. One of the most important methods of accident prevention is to implement an OSHA cooperation program.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established to set and enforce safe work standards and practices to protect American workers. Many businesses are required to employ certain policies as outlined by OSHA to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.
Statistics have shown that when a workplace implements these programs, injuries and illnesses decrease dramatically. Not only that; these businesses often see higher productivity, improved morale, and reduced costs.
Workers’ compensation is perhaps one of the biggest factors of cost reduction when an OSHA program is adopted. When workplace safety education and risk management increases, workers’ compensation claims decrease, and premiums are lowered!
How Does It Work?
Most injury and illness prevention programs should have these core elements:
Management Leadership. Outlining goals for the safety program and overseeing its organization.
Worker Participation. Ensuring that all employees are actively involved and prepared.
Hazard Identification. Working with employees to identify hazards and finding methods to address and control them.
Hazard Prevention. Creating policies and protocols to avoid identified hazards.
Education/Training. Educating employees on work-specific safety protocols and implementing training programs for new workers.
Program Evaluation. Maintaining and updating these programs on a regular basis to ensure up-to-date safety measures.
The Bottom Line
In 2010, Liberty Mutual Research Institute reported that 2008 saw roughly $53 billion of workplace injury costs.
In 2011, the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) estimated that workers’ compensation benefits paid out about $58 billion for 2009. Furthermore, costs paid by employers for workers’ compensation totaled $74 billion.
Currently, 15 states require the implementation of an injury and illness prevention program while a few dozen others encourage and incentivize these programs. Every business will have different requirements based on the industry or size and complexity of the work operations.
But one thing every business has in common is that safety measures like an injury and illness prevention program can protect both the lives of your workers and, ultimately, your bottom line.