What Is The True Cost Of Work-Related Injuries In 2014?

We want to address one of the largest expenses companies deal with today – job- related injuries and illnesses.

Job-related injuries and illnesses affect around 3.3 million people a year, according to a blog post by Hilda Solis, the Secretary of Labor in 2011. While desk job related injuries aren’t always very obvious, other industries put employees at a greater risk for major physical injury. But any workplace injury or illness, no matter how it’s caused, inevitably disables and hurts workers and their families – sometimes temporarily, and sometimes permanently.

Unfortunately, job-related illnesses and injuries may be doing more harm than we thought – not just to individuals, which is bad enough, but to companies and the economy as well. According to ucdmc.ucdavis.edu, “In the first comprehensive review of its kind since 1992, a UC Davis researcher has estimated the national annual price tag of occupational injuries and illnesses at $250 billion, much higher than generally assumed.”

To put this number into perspective:

  • It’s $31 billion more than the direct and indirect medical costs associated with treating cancer in the U.S.
  • It’s $76 billion more than the costs associated with diabetes
  • It’s $187 billion more than the costs associated with strokes

How is this possible? Often the worst costs associated with workplace injuries and illness are secondary, and are therefore easier to forget about and ignore compared to the costs being paid upfront. These secondary expenses are highlighted in this wonderful and informative infographic:

As you can see, most estimates indicate that only 29% of any injury-associated costs are direct; the rest are all associated with indirect costs.

While data indicates that some industries or occupations are more likely than others to face certain risks or contribute to injury and illness costs, the truth is that any and every industry today can and does deal with these expenses. While some accidents are more common than others, frequent and infrequent types of accidents alike can lead to injury and tragedy. When you add in the fact that modern day occupational injuries and illnesses cost about $33 billion more today than they did in 1992 (once adjusted for inflation), it’s clear that something has to be done.

It’s time for every employer to put more emphasis on the reduction of work-related injury and illnesses, to reduce costs and, more importantly, to help the American workers who deserve better.

What do you think about this latest research? What has your workplace does to address its specific potential work-related injuries and illnesses? Let us know in the comments!

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