Thursday, September 30, 2010

The True Costs Of An Unsafe Workplace

There is no question that running a profitable business is a grueling, unforgiving job that, unless they have tried it themselves, not many will ever understand . Even though your employees' livelihood, not to mention your own, directly depends on your ability to do so. Because of this, as an employer, it is easy to skip a few safety rules now and then when following them means adding additional overhead. Dumb move or smart move? Let's see...

The truth is there are many costs related to an injured employee. Most of the time it's the less obvious hidden costs that can really hurt your business in the long run. The truth is that most of these risks taken every day, rather you recognise it or not, can be easily avoided simply with proper education and the right reliable equipment... and ignorance really is not an excuse.

For example, a folding cart company based out of Louisville, Ky that designs and manufacturers unique heavy duty folding carts that collapse making them portable and have prevented countless injuries over the years.

It's easier to understand monetary costs over any other, let's keep this article strictly on that level even though the psychological effects of an injury can be quite costly on many levels.

When an accident happens while performing his/her job functions there is an immediate medical expense to treat the injured employee. There is also that employees wages while they are unable to perform such duties due to this injury. Also, what about the time it takes a co-worker to help the injured employee to the hospital or the time it takes your administrative staff to process the paper work related to the incident? Wait, there's more...

Now let's look deeper. Can someone else do the injured employee's duties during recovery? No matter what your answer is here it's going to cost you money.

Some choose to go with temporary help. Although this may be your best option not only are you now paying two different people to perform one duty you are also paying a third employee to train and supervise new inexperienced help. In addition, the temporary help can't be as efficient as the injured employee so their ability is not as strong as well as the speed in which they do it. Some employers find that it is necessary to hire two or even three inexperienced temporary employees to cover for one experienced one.

More "thrifty" business owners/managers may decide that their current staff is capable of handling the added workload while their co-worker recovers. This method may seem to not to cost the company but let's take a look at this choice a little closer.

Assuming of course your company is not "over-staffed" meaning having more employees than you need to perform the same level of work, then it is not reasonable to believe that your current staff will be able to cover for the injured employee without putting in extra time. In most cases this means extra pay at an elevated over-time rate.

Regardless of the extra pay a more costly risk is the overall quality of work and attention to safety procedures will diminish to some degree by suddenly increasing your current staff's workload. This can create a vicious cycle provoking additional injuries. Not only will they be more tired, particularly later in the week, but they will feel pressured to perform their duties faster leaving less time for quality control.

There is also the possibly much more costly issue of loss of company moral, particularly if employees are asked to work more with no more pay. If your employees even spread the idea that your company considers profit more important than their safety then your real problems have just begun.

A company Cancer will begin to spread as ill feelings towards the company and it's alleged lack of respect for the very employees that keep it alive spreads throughout the entire staff. There is no cure for Cancer and it only grows overtime causing a whole new array of costs from loss of productivity due to employees considering other employment and regularly discussing this with co-workers to actually losing valuable team members to your competition.

Also, don't think for even one second that one injured employee does not affect the productivity of all those who either witness the injury or even just hear about it. The story of what actually happened gets better each time it is told as it travels around the company.

In conclusion, the idea here is to raise awareness of all the costs, outside of litigation, some not so obvious, that can potentially harm your business but can be easily avoided simply by taking some simple upfront precautions.

Next time when faced with tempation to risk safety, in addition to considering the health and safety of your employee, be sure that you understand what may seem to help your bottom line truly is not worth the risk.

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