The first line of defense against on-the-job accidents is proper safety procedures and equipment. Employers ensure that employees take precaution while performing their job and have the proper equipment to do so. However, because of human error and unforeseen circumstances, workplace accidents are a fact of life. Employers must know how to deal with the aftermath, help their employees, and preserve the smooth operation of their business.
Accidents present several costs to the employer, including:
- Salary costs
- Productivity losses
- Medical and travel expenses
- Additional supervision
In one study, salary costs comprised 45% of the total average costs. Productivity and retraining costs each comprised 21%.
Physical Effects on the Employees
The majority of the accident cost pertained to the loss, either temporary or permanent, of a trained employee. The physical injuries that contributed to this loss include the following:
- Retired due to permanent injury (arm, fingers)
- Loss of ability to handle materials
- Persistent headaches
- Persistent pain
These injuries result in a wide range of either part or full off time, ranging from a month to several years. The equivalent salary for these losses adds a significant amount to operational overhead.
Workplace accidents can have psychological effects as well, including anxiety and depression, further reducing productivity. In one study, anxiety affected more than half the injured employees, while depression afflicted more than a quarter. The effects also impinged on after work activities with families and hobbies as well, further hurting the employee’s perceptions of the workplace.
Although recovered employees maintained their relationships with colleagues and coworkers, studies show that the employee-employer relationship can become strained. The amount of interaction is less, and the tone of the relationship becomes more polarized. In many cases, if the employee was treated the same after the accident as before, he or she began to develop resentment. Employers could counter this effect by instigating increased contact post-accident, in order to mitigate negative feelings. This was important because studies uncovered that most employees project their anger about the accident onto their employer.
Can Lawyers Help Employers?
Businesses can offset most accident risk by maintaining appropriate workers compensation. However, in some cases, employees may decide to turn workplace accidents into personal injury cases. This could entitle them to compensation for pain and suffering, which can lead to a large judgment. In these cases, a lawyer can help employers deal with these situations, and make sure that they are protected against this significant liability. Business owners can contact the law offices of Brent George Law, assess the level of risk, and devise an appropriate protection plan.