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Costs

In addition to their social costs, workplace injuries and illnesses have a major impact on an employer's bottom line. It has been estimated that employers pay almost $1 billion per week for direct workers' compensation costs alone. 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.

The following resources provide background on the costs of workplace injuries and illnesses and how employers can estimate these costs at their workplaces.

Safety Pays Program
  • Workers' Compensation Costs of Falls in Construction (PPT*). OSHA, (2012). Study shows that the average workers' compensation claims costs for falls by roofers and carpenters are most costly than other falls.
  • $afety Pays OSHA. Interactive software that assists employers in assessing the impact of occupational injuries and illnesses on their profitability. It uses a company's profit margin, the average costs of an injury or illness, and an indirect cost multiplier to project the amount of sales a company would need to generate to cover those costs.
  • The Price of Inaction: A Comprehensive Look at the Costs of Injuries and Fatalities in Maryland's Construction Industry. Public Citizen, (2012). Reviews the economic burden of workplace injuries and fatalities in Maryland's construction industry by estimating the direct, indirect, and quality of life costs resulting from fatal and nonfatal injuries. The report estimates that construction fatalities and injuries cost the Maryland economy $712.8 million from 2008 to 2010.
  • White Paper on Return on Safety Investment. American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), (2002, June). Summarizes the economic and other costs of workplace injuries and illnesses.
  • Impact of Accident Costs on Businesses. American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). Provides information on the economic and other costs of workplace injuries and illnesses.
  • Sang D. Choi. "A Survey of the Safety Roles and Costs of Injuries in the Roofing Contracting Industry" (PDF*). Journal of Safety, Health and Environmental Research Vol. 3, No. 1, (2006, Spring). Reviews the direct and indirect costs resulting from workplace injuries in the roofing industry. Loss of productivity and schedule disruptions were the most expensive indirect costs.
  • 2012 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index (PDF*). Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, (2012). Tracks the causes and costs of the most disabling workplace injuries and illnesses in 2010. Researchers combine information from Liberty Mutual, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the National Academy of Social Insurance to provide a broad snapshot.
  • Estimating the Costs of Unintentional Injuries. National Safety Council. Illustrates how economic costs of unintentional injuries, including workplace injuries, can be estimated.
  • J. Paul Leigh, Economic Burden of Occupational Injury and Illness in the United States. Milbank Quarterly, Vol. 89, Issue 4, p. 728 (Dec. 2011).Provides estimates of the national costs of occupational injury and illnesses among civilians in the United States for 2007. The total estimated costs were approximately $250 billion.
  • J. Paul Leigh, Steven Markowitz, Marianne Fahs and Phillip Landrigan. "Costs of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses." University of Michigan Press, (2000). Presents estimates of the incidence, prevalence, and costs of workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses for the entire civilian workforce of the United States in 1992.
  • The Economic Burden of Occupational Fatal Injuries to Civilian Workers in the United States Based on the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 1992-2002. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2011-130, (2011). Presents estimates of economic costs of workplace fatalities using revised methods and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs at (202) 693-2200 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs at (202) 693-2200.

**eBooks - EPUB is the most common format for e-Books. If you use a Sony Reader, a Nook, or an iPad you can download the EPUB file format. If you use a Kindle, you can download the MOBI file format.

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