55_shutterstock_614364854 HSE CORNER: The Cost of Workplace Accidents

The Cost of Work Place Accidents

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that work-related accidents and illnesses annually take some 2 million lives and cost the global economy an estimated $1.25 trillion ($1,250,000 million US dollars), the ILO says this toll of accidental death and disease can be stopped if workers, employers and governments respect international safety standards.

The latest ILO report reviews current knowledge about the toll of workplace illness, injury and death, which costs some $1.25 trillion ($1,250,000 million US dollars) in annual losses in global gross domestic product (GDP).

The ILO said its estimate was based on a calculation that accidents and work-related illnesses cost some 4 per cent of annual GDP.

That worldwide figure, based on the latest ILO estimates is just part of the immense suffering caused by workplace hazards. Some 160 million people on this planet have work-related diseases.

Meanwhile, the number of work accidents, fatal and non-fatal, is put at 270 million a year.


Organisational Loss

It’s a simple fact that organisations lose money through workplace accidents and illness. This can be through being sued or through the inability to effectively carry out its business activities and in some cases go out of business.

The impacts of poor health and safety and work-related accidents on a company's bottom line include:

  • Fines
  • Compensation
  • High legal costs
  • Higher Insurance premiums
  • Material, equipment and premises damage costs
  • Loss of investment in employees, training for example
  • Lower competitiveness
  • Damage to reputation and public image
  • Loss of custom
  • Less productive workforce
  • Lower morale and an unhappy environment
  • Higher absenteeism and more down time
  • Difficulty in the recruitment of high quality personnel
  • Early retirements
  • Unemployment
  • Poorer households

In terms of accidents and illness, there are regional variations. For example, in parts of the developing world, fatality rates soar to four times those in the safest industrialised countries.

The world's biggest workplace killers are cancer (an estimated 32 per cent of all work-related deaths), circulatory diseases (23 per cent), accidents (19 per cent) and communicable diseases (17 per cent).

Most of these deaths are preventable.

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