It’s a given that nobody ever wants to see or hear about electrocution and accidents in the workplace. While there are many ways to prevent work-related accidents, a robust, ironclad safety program combined with quality personal protection equipment, and training can help streamline overall company expenses and productivity.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, an estimated total of $151 billion dollars were spent by the nation, employers, and employees from work-related deaths and injuries in 2016. Despite how morbid the topic may seem, it’s critical to understand how the expenses from a work-related injury far outweigh the aftermath costs that follow an incident. At the end of the day, implementing standard personal protective equipment (PPE) saves lives, money, improves productivity, and increases overall revenue.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR INVESTING IN PERSONAL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT
There are three primary considerations businesses face when evaluating the purchase of a new safety device:
Cost of the new device – Safety devices range in price from inexpensive to rather costly depending on the technology involved and what they are intended for. Their trusted durability, reliability, and usability cannot be compromised. Sacrificing any of these features could endanger the life of the user, defeating the purpose of the device altogether.
Need of the device – Over the years, an increase in safety procedures and protocols established by OSHA and workers unions have contributed to the reduction of work injuries. Depending on the industry and environment, some workers may never encounter a dangerous situation. This raises the question of whether or not additional safety devices are a necessary investment, especially in companies where work injuries may happen infrequently.
The rigorous training/implementation of a new device (sometimes across thousands of employees) – implementing a new safety device requires user training and new policy protocols that can be overwhelming for safety directors and their teams. One might begin to wonder if the work of implementing a new device was worth the prevention of that once-a-year injury a company may face.
Regardless of these pain-points, businesses know that it’s not a matter of if a work injury will occur, but when. And when it does, employers and employees will need to be prepared for the consequences that are to follow.
WORK-INJURIES ARE EXPENSIVE
Simply put, all work-injuries = expense. Whenever an accident occurs, expect time to be lost and money to be spent.
Slows Down Production of Products/Services
Any work injury, especially serious injuries, is typically followed by a thorough investigation. Work often slows down or is stopped completely at the site of the accident to allow appropriate personnel to evaluate the scene. Depending on the situation, law enforcement, emergency response, coroner, insurance representatives, and even OSHA may also be pulled into the investigation.
Unleashes Waterfall of Expenses
While investigations are taking place, the work that still needs to be completed is delayed due to the temporary or longer-term loss of the employee directly affecting revenue. Directors may need to hire and onboard a new employee altogether while still paying for the injured employee’s disability/sick leave along with medical expenses. More serious work-injuries can often lead to lawsuits, opening an entirely new world of costs for employer and employee.
Kickstarts Additional Training and Policy Changes
When all is said in done, there is typically a call for a policy review of procedures in place. This opens the door for potential changes that may require additional training at the time and cost of the company and staff.
Increases Risk of Negative Press & Dissatisfied Customers
Regardless of the initial expense, work-related accidents can affect the customer and stakeholder’s perception of a company’s values. People prefer to work with organizations that put a premium on keeping their customers and employees as safe as possible.
SAFETY DEVICES CREATE A POSITIVE IMPACT FOR ALL
Accidents happen but striving to keep employees safe should be the #1 priority for all businesses. Despite the initial pain–points discussed previously, below is a list of some major benefits that come from minimizing injuries:
- Good safety practices increase worker’s confidence on the job
- Elimination of injuries maximizes workforce productivity
- Elimination of injuries minimizes extraneous costs
- Reduction of injuries improves the stakeholder outlook of the company
- Creates the opportunity for positive press (ex. FirstEnergy made a press release regarding their adoption of Compass™ voltage and current detector as a way of keeping their utility workers as safe as possible on the job (Siburkis, 2020))
- Protects families and communities from the negative impacts of the loss of a loved one.
There are numerous PPE devices on the market today that help to mitigate work-injuries and reduce risk. Safeguard Equipment’s Compass™, for example, is PPE designed as a sixth sense to warn a worker of nearby live voltage and current. Compass™ attaches to the inside brim of a standard hard hat and adapts to the user’s environment, providing 360-degree directional and visual/audio alerts of nearby, unknown electrical danger.
United States Department of Labor. (n.d.). Business Case for Safety and Health – Overview | Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA.Gov. Retrieved January 13, 2021, from https://www.osha.gov/businesscase#:%7E:text=The%20costs%20of%20injuries%20were,illnesses%20were%20approximately%20%2458%20billion.
Siburkis, L., 2020. FirstEnergy Utilities Deploy New Safety Devices That Offer A ‘Sixth Sense’ To Line Workers, Field Personnel. [online] Firstenergycorp.com. Available at: <https://firstenergycorp.com/newsroom/featured_stories/voltage-readers.html?linkId=101431206> [Accessed 13 January 2021].