The Real Cost of Safety

Safety compliance at some workplaces is rare. Business owners generally comply with tax laws, payroll laws, project specifications, building standards etc. But when speaking to business owners (who Encompass Business Solutions (EBS) do not consult to …. as yet) what we hear is, ‘safety compliance is a load of bullshit paperwork’ or ‘these days safety requirements are ridiculous’ or the worst one, ‘as a business owner, I will risk it and see what happens’.

To put it bluntly, this bullshit safety compliance has seen a reduction of workplace fatalities by 41% since 2007. As described in a Safe Work Australia report:

The best part of being a safety consultant is that some businesses really want to make a difference, they want to ensure employees and everyone around them are safe and go home the way they came to work. These businesses do spend the time and money to ensure all aspects of safety are implemented and it evident when businesses review their annual safety statistics.

EBS service many businesses with thousands of employees and our team have only attended 2 incidents this year. This is a credit to the businesses EBS consult to and their passion and commitment for safety.

Some of the obvious strengths of these businesses are;

Managers and Directors are passionate about safety and ‘walk the talk’,

They regularly hold toolbox meetings to raise awareness of current and emerging safety topics,

There are safety boards containing information on safety topics,

There are first aid kits, spill kits, evacuation plans, emergency personnel details, simple, basic but highly effective,

There are positive injury, accident and hazard reporting cultures with a system of no blame, no shaming and no deductions in pay for reporting all actual and near miss incidents ,

There are no tolerances for bullying and harassment, from anyone towards anyone, this is what I call simple respect for one another,

There are clear lines when it come to unsafe work, ‘if its not safe, don’t do it’ and employees will not be punished for their decision/s,

There are budgets in place, not only set for accounting services, rent, building or plant and equipment maintenance, but for safety and health monitoring.

The cost of safety can be high

In a medium sized business, you may spend a minimum of $10k a year on safety initiatives and implementation. But the cost of an incident at the workplace is far greater.

Lets look at some general figures,

Incident occurs and the person is injured and need to go to hospital and his/her supervisor decides to go too.

Day 1 (approximate costs):

$350 a day for the injured person

$350 a day for the supervisor to attend the hospital with the injured person

$1500 – ambulance services

$2500 - hospital bills

$endless - managers time off the job to attend the injury site, speak to WorkSafe, police, family members, doctors etc

$ endless - managers time undertaking an incident investigation for authorities

Day 2 onwards:

$350 x 20 days as the injured person can not return to work for a month, or maybe longer,

Other items are physio, x-rays, psychologists, doctor follow-ups, managers time keeping in contact with the injured person and their family, engaging a workcover specialist to ensure the injured person has a return to work plan, engaging a safety specialist to help with implementing a safety program so this doesn’t happen again.

And when you think its nearly over:

The business forgot to pay WorkCover for their employees, so all the injury costs are now the responsibility of the business and;

Now, WorkSafe are prosecuting the business for negligence towards safety.

The business owner:

For the business owner, the bills keep mounting because safety wasn’t a priority for the business or the business was too busy growing and being busy that they forgot to stop, think and act safely,

The effects on managers, employees and anyone else that is seeing the incident unfold are both traumatic and ongoing,

The most painful part of all this is the sleepless nights and nightmares reliving the incident, the anxiety at work and at home due to the stress its causing everyone involved. The guilt that someone was injured at your workplace and you and the injured person will feel the effects of this incident for years to come.

STOP, THINK and THINK again, if everyone hired at least 2-4 family members that they truly care about to work within their business, safety may be a higher priority, so treat your employees as family and close friends and you will ensure safety is a priority at your workplace.

If you would like some assistance implementing a safety program at your workplace, give our team a call.

Encompass Business Solutions P/L M: 0488 225 445 P: (03) 5435 4072 W: E: