Cost of non-safety

by Nov 28, 2018Uncategorized

Cost of non-safety


Workplace accidents in general, and more specifically those attributed to machines, represent a major issue at the human and financial levels for both the employee, the employer and society.

Unlike other problems that enterprises face, industrial health and safety issues are associated with costs that are difficult to discern, until an undesired event occurs and reveals these costs at an unfortunately late moment.

If the costs related to industrial safety issues are difficult to see, the advantages of a good system for management and prevention of these issues are even more difficult to see, especially in the short-term.

In this article, we will try and make these costs and benefits more palpable to provide financial arguments with the aim to promote any improvement process or implementation of an industrial safety management system.

Many studies have been dedicated to the classification of costs related to workplace accidents, and this since 1939. Two classifications are the most efficient in shedding light on the situation:

1- By indirecf and direct costs:  this classification identifies the proportion of costs that aren’t taken into consideration by the employer and represent up to 75% of costs (versus 25% for the direct costs) (see Table 1)


Table 1 :  Direct and indirect costs related to a workplace accident (Labelle, 2000)


In Quebec, between 2005 and 2007, the human costs, the lost productivity and medical fees represented 99% of the costs brought on by occupational injuries, with an average cost of 32 848$ per accident.

2- Cost for the employer and cost for the employee: This classification shows the costs suffered by each party directly involved in the workplace accident.

For these costs, it must be noted that for Quebec, articles 236 and 237 of the Act respecting occupational health and safety determine the amount of the fine than can be imposed on companies. These amounts can go up to 300 000$ in certain conditions (See Table 2)


Table 2 : Costs attributed to the employer and to the employee (International Labour Organization)


Finally, preventive interventions are always characterized by access to multiple options that optimize the efforts to promote workplace health and safety in terms of cost and efficiency, since their integration in the enterprise’s main processes will always be possible. However, corrective intervention (a posteriori) are often submitted to legal constraints that lead to actions that can be anti-productive with major reductions in all future improvement margins.


Figure : Intervening a priori vs a posteriori

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