The real cost of safety, or perhaps better phrased the real cost of a lack of safety is something that is not always clear and can be hard to calculate. There are so many factors involved when someone gets injured on the job that it might not always be clear the moment the injury happened. There are a number of topics that have an effect on the costs involved.

Direct Effects

When an accident happens on the job a lot of costs are made to perform a proper investigation. These investigations are always very thorough and properly executed. This is of course a good thing but it also means they take up a lot of resources like money and time. A safety specialist might be hired for the investigation and the operational staff will be busy with this. Sometimes the production needs to be put on hold to perform the investigation. This will lead to a serious loss of production time.

Indirect Effects

Loss of production hours of the employee is one of the indirect effects. As long as the employee is not able to work his/her salary still needs to paid, and a replacement also needs to be arranged, as the job must continue.

The second financial effect comes from the lost of potential contracts. Some contractors prefer the subcontractor with the lowest number of injuries with days lost. These statistic can become crucial for winning tenders.

The last indirect effect might be the increase in insurance premiums. Insurance premiums are based on the likelihood of an accident. Past incident statistics can be used to calculate current insurance rates. When these statistics go up this can be very negative for the insurance costs.

Emotional Effects

The employee and his/her family can have severe psychological damage in case of a serious injury. However, not only the family can fall victim to this but also the colleagues of the person that had the accident. Some colleagues might have seen the accident happening. Certain injuries can cause serious psychological damage the moment you see it happening. All the visits to the psychologist and loss of hours work can lead to a serious financial impact for the company especially when several colleagues were involved.

As with everything when it comes to safety: it is better to prevent than to cure. Automation solutions like Qooling can help companies in this process. When employees have an easy way to file near misses the (Q)HSE people can start finding the root cause to these situations and take appropriate (corrective) actions.


  • Philip says:

    An excellent article with highly relevant points. Better planning to ensure and provide for safety show employees the management cares for them and their families. Higher performance and productivity would be natural outcomes with lesser suffering and pain for everyone. Including the customer who gets what they want delivered on time.

  • Tom Vardon says:

    There is only one reason for safety. Prevent harm to someone.
    Unfortunately many people make errors in their daily tasks, so we need to provide more safety than many people think
    Why would anyone crawl under a fence?
    Do risk assessments, exceed the standards, spend the money, keep people safe.
    Provide an opportunity for a good safety culture.

    • nickappel says:

      Hi Tom,

      You are absolutely right, the first and most important part of safety is to make sure every employee reaches home in the same conditions they left in the morning. This is off course not 100% possible but we should at least try to. The culture of a company has a big impact on this.

  • Horizon OHS says:

    One thing is the perfect answer to prevent from this injuries: “it is better to prevent than to to cure.”

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