Understanding the role of accident prevention and committing to a safety program can go a long way toward decreasing exposure to hazards and eliminating utility-related injury and illness altogether. By implementing a safety program you can help protect your workforce from the devastating impact of incidents that could easily be avoided.
Do I really need a workplace safety program?
When you’re weighing the importance of dedicating time and resources to an occupational health and safety program, consider these alarming statistics:
- In 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported cases of injuries and illnesses at a rate of 4.1 per 100 full-time workers within the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector.
- Fifty-nine utility workers died in electrical accidents between 2003 and 2007. Nonfatal electrical injury rates in the utility industry rose steadily from 2003 (1.3 per 10,000 workers) to a peak in 2006 (3.0) and returned to 1.7 in 2007.*
- The rise in injury rates in the utility industry was driven mainly by an increased number of electrical burns (this category includes all types of electrical burns, including arc flash burns, conduction burns, etc.).
- The utility industry reported 120 nonfatal injuries from electric shock and 450 from electrical burns.
- According to the National Safety Council, the top 5 events that lead to injury in the utilities industry in 2005 were:
• Contact with/struck by/caught in object or equipment
• Fall on same level
• Fall to lower level
• Transportation accidents
*“Occupational Electrical Injury and Fatality Trends: 1992-2007,” EHSToday, May 2009.
What’s the real cost of workplace injury?
The impact of occupational injury and illness extends far beyond the costs of medical care, especially when you consider these indirect areas of impact:
- Group health insurance costs
- Effects on family members
- Loss in productivity
- Skill replacement
- Tight employment market
- Cost of hiring new employees
According to data compiled by Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance, the average cost of a lost-time claim is over $20,000—a cost that could easily be avoided through a genuine commitment to workplace safety.