I understand that companies nowadays have been putting more focus on safe work practices by putting employees, especially those in more dangerous work environments, through a number of safety courses to ensure the employees are practicing safe work procedures that provide a safer work environment for everyone leading to less injuries in the work place.
However, one may need to ask themselves….are companies really looking out for the workers best interest or that of their own? By training employees with the correct way to perform a job they may be lowering the possibility of the worker getting hurt, however, with the injury of a worker comes a lot of other expenses…almost all on the companies behalf.
According to OSHA, It has been estimated that employers pay almost $1 billion per week for direct workers’ compensation costs alone. The obvious direct costs being having to pay workmans’ compensation, legal and medical expenses while the indirect costs such as hiring and re-training, implementing corrective measures, and production downtime can be just as expensive as the direct costs.
Also according to OSHA statistics (2012), the claims costs for falls by roofers and carpenters are more costly than other falls. However, using equipment such as ladders and unsafe scaffolds seem to be a never ending trend as they are seen as cheap options, especially when their are safer alternatives in todays day and age. This number is alarmingly increasing and putting a large enough dent in some companies pockets to the point that they are now beginning to ban the use of simple unsafe equipment such as the ladder, a basic piece of equipment used since the stone age.
Here is some food for thought….every time a worker uses a piece of equipment on the work site such as a ladder, scaffold, mobile elevated platforms, stepladders, etc., are the conditions of the environment and the equipment always ideal for safety of the worker? Are safety coordinators and equipment inspections prone to human error leaving the worker vulnerable from the start? How does a company truly look out for their workers as well as that of their own?
As time goes on and technology advances, there will always be equipment that is safer than their last version. However, finding the correct piece of equipment that is known to not only minimize risk and injury, but also not require ridiculous paperwork and out of pocket expenses is the ultimate goal of any company. Companies need to take more notice to market trends, not only in the newest, cheapest, equipment but also the alarming increase of injuries using traditional work methods. Sometimes the true key to reducing employee injuries and company expenses is paying more up front for a safer product. Although the upfront cost may be a few times more expensive than traditional equipment, the price you pay in the long run will ultimately keep dollars in the companies pocket.
Don’t be cheap. Be safe.
Safety First Coordinator