Workplace incidents cause an enormous amount of physical, financial and emotional hardship for individual workers, their families and organizations. Combined with insufficient workers’ compensation benefits and inadequate medical insurance, workplace injuries and illnesses can not only cause physical pain and suffering but also loss of employment and wages, burdensome debt, inability to maintain a previous standard of living, loss of home ownership and even bankruptcy.
In addition to the obvious social costs, workplace injuries and illnesses have a major impact on an employer’s bottom line. According to the 2017 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, serious, nonfatal workplace injuries now amount to nearly $60 billion in direct U.S. workers’ compensation costs per year, which translates into more than $1 billion dollars a week spent by businesses on these injuries . The costs of workplace injuries and illnesses include direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include workers’ compensation payments, medical expenses, and costs for legal services. Examples of indirect costs include training replacement employees, accident investigation and implementation of corrective measures, lost productivity, repairs of damaged equipment and property, and costs associated with lower employee morale and absenteeism.
Below is a sample list of average direct & indirect costs for some of the top injury classifications in the Oil & Gas, Chemical, and Mining Industries in the United States: