Globally, nearly 2.8 million people are killed, and 374 million people are injured as a result of accidents or work-related diseases in the workplace every year, a statistic which is likely much higher due to widespread underreporting. The International Labor Organization (ILO) notes that the cumulative costs of these injuries and deaths amounts to more than $3 trillion annually, almost 4% of the global GDP. The toll of occupational hazards and neglect is costly not only for those immediately impacted, but for industries as well. Thus, it is businesses and organizations who implement more extensive safety protocols and systems, as well as first aid training to their employees, who are able to cut their injury and illness expenses by 20-40%. Avoidable expenses can be attributed to both the direct and indirect costs of occupational injuries and death. Each workplace injury amounts to approximately $40,000 USD, while each workplace death amounts to upwards of $1.2 million USD. While medical expenses are most evident, these injuries and deaths also incur wage and productivity losses, administrative expenses, workers compensation, etc. Businesses and organizations have the capacity to maintain worker well-being and life, as well as to avoid unneeded costs at their expense.
While the economic costs of injury and death in the workplace are undoubtedly high, the cost of human life is exponentially higher. The capacity to save lives need not only fall in the hands of emergency responders and the healthcare system. With proper first aid education and training, – like that provided by social enterprises like SSVN – anyone has the capacity to save the lives of their coworkers, and family and community members. Learning the warning signs of health hazards and the leading causes of injury and death in the work sector – such as those caused by falls and motor vehicle accidents – is a hugely important way to keep yourself and others safe in times of emergency. The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development claims that one-fourth (1/4) deaths could be prevented annually through “better prevention and health care intervention”. Simple – yet effective – interventions such as CPR can significantly increase the odds of a victim’s survival and can prevent debilitating disability, if performed with immediacy. Employers and employees hold both a power and a responsibility to keep those whom they work alongside safe.
It should be noted that “keeping workers safe is overwhelmingly an investment, rather than a cost” (OSHA). One’s occupation should not put them at higher risk for injury, fatal or nonfatal. Prevention measures are far more effective than care after the fact.
Author: Abby Poisson – SSVN Survival Skills
‘Safety and Health at Work’ (2021). International Labour Organization, [online], Available at: https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/safety-and-health-at-work/lang–de/index.htm
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‘Work Injury Costs’ (2019). National Safety Council, [online], Available at: https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/work/costs/work-injury-costs/
‘Avoidable Mortality (Preventable and Treatable)’ (2019). OECD iLibrary [online], Available at: https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/3b4fdbf2-en/index.html?itemId=/content/component/3b4fdbf2-en