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.
$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.
2016 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index (PDF*). Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, (2016). Tracks the causes and costs of the most disabling workplace injuries and illnesses in 2013. Researchers combine information from Liberty Mutual, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the National Academy of Social Insurance to provide a broad snapshot.
J. Paul Leigh, Economic Burden of Occupational Injury and Illness in the United States. Milbank Quarterly, Vol. 89, Issue 4, p. 728 (December 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.
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