Cost of Accidents

The direct (insured) cost of accidents is by far the easiest to track. These direct costs are for medical care, repairing or replacing damaged equipment, and workers' compensation premiums. There is no possible way to not see the cost of an ambulance, hospital bill, or repair bill when it comes. Likewise, employers know the dollar amounts being expended on workers' compensation.

Data from the National Safety Council for 2008 indicate that the cost of work-related injuries and deaths was $183.0 billion. Wage and productivity loss accounted for $88.4 billion, medical cost $38.3 billion, and employer cost equaled $12.7 billion. The average cost of a workplace death was put at $1,310,000, and a disabling injury cost $48,000. A look at other injury costs provided by the National Safety Council indicates that a reasonable, serious, nondisabling injury would have an average cost of $22,674 (2006-2007).

Many safety and health experts estimate that the indirect (uninsured) cost of accidents, and the costs associated with them, equal 5 to 10 times the direct cost of the accidents. These indirect costs are caused by many of the following:

  • • Time lost from work by the injured.
  • • Loss in earning power.
  • • Economic loss to injured worker's family.
  • • Lost time by fellow workers.
  • • Loss of efficiency due to breakup of crew.
  • • Lost time of supervisor.
  • • Cost of breaking in a new worker.
  • • Damage to tools and equipment.
  • • The time damaged equipment is out of service.
  • • Spoiled work.
  • • Loss of production.
  • • Spoilage from fire, water, chemical, explosives, etc.
  • • Failure to fill orders.
  • • Overhead cost (while work was disrupted).
  • • Miscellaneous—there are at least 100 other items of cost that appear one or more times with every accident.
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