The Aftershock of Workplace Accidents: 6 Devastating Effects

Is your workplace safe? An accident can occur in the blink of an eye but have repercussions that last for years, including lawsuits, fines, and a significant loss of revenue. Even worse, no business is immune to potential injuries.

As an employer, it’s your job to maintain rigorous safety standards at all times. It’s not just the right thing to do, but it’s also a smart move for your business, as a safe workplace leads to happier and more productive employees.

Safety should always be priority number one, regardless of your industry. Here are six devastating effects that can result from workplace accidents. 

Costly lawsuits

The death of an employee is the worst possible outcome of a workplace accident. Not only is an employee’s death a tragedy, but it can also result in significant legal and financial hardships for your business. The victim’s family could hire a wrongful death attorney and file a claim against you.

A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit intended to recover damages if the death was caused by the employer’s negligence, wrongdoing, or intentional actions. Damages awarded can potentially include medical expenses, funeral expenses, and loss of financial and household support for the surviving family. Even worse, if a judge decides to make an example of you, your business could be hit with staggering punitive damages.  

Even if you ultimately prevail in court, a wrongful death lawsuit can still cost your company a substantial amount of time, money, and heartache.

Potential for OSHA investigation

All US companies must follow safety standards set by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Any workplace injuries can potentially trigger an OSHA investigation to determine why the accident occurred and whether any safety procedures weren’t adequately implemented or followed.

Note that an OSHA investigation looks beyond the immediate cause of the accident towards any systemic problems in the workplace. If OSHA finds any violations, even if they didn’t result in the most recent employee injury, you could face fines, shutdowns, and other potential punishments.

Reduced employee morale

Your staff’s enthusiasm, confidence, and self-discipline directly affect their ability to perform their jobs. Unfortunately, any type of injury, even a minor one, can lower the morale of everyone in the company.

Following a workplace injury, it can be challenging for other employees to go back to business as usual. Workers can be overwhelmed by concern for the injured employee or even worried about their own risk of injury on the job site. Maintaining a safe work environment and reacting appropriately to any hazards can significantly boost employee morale and increase staff productivity.

Decreased staffing

In the aftermath of a workplace accident, the injured party will be unable to perform their duties while they recover, which can slow down the productivity of your business. The injured employee isn’t necessarily the only person diverted from their regular duties.

Other employees might need to temporarily handle the job of the injured party, which can result in staff burnout, increased overtime costs, and other potential roadblocks. Additionally, administrative employees will need to dedicate extra time to deal with the paperwork and other bureaucratic issues related to the incident.

In the case of a severe injury or death, the employee won’t return to the job at all, so finding a replacement is necessary. Unfortunately, hiring and training someone new is both costly and time-consuming, not to mention the drop in morale that follows the death or forced retirement of a colleague. 

Increased worker’s compensation costs

As a business owner, you need to purchase workers’ compensation to cover your employees. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides for medical bills and other benefits if an employee sustains an injury on the job. Insurance companies determine rates by considering many factors, including the potential risks associated with your industry. 

Unfortunately, as with any type of insurance, your rates will likely increase anytime you file a claim. Even a single minor accident can result in raised rates, but if you need to file multiple claims, your worker’s compensation costs could skyrocket.

Tarnished company reputation

If your workplace becomes known as a hotbed of workplace accidents, your company’s image can suffer in the eyes of the public. After all, if customers think you don’t care about employee safety, it’s natural for them to assume you don’t care about the well-being of your customers either.

Regardless of the situation, the general public will almost always take the side of an individual employee over “the man.” Suppose an injured worker appears on the local TV news or in other media to talk about their experience.. In that case, your company’s reputation will likely take a hit, even if you’re not legally or morally responsible for the injury. The best way to avoid these blows to your image is to avoid any workplace accidents in the first place. 

Wrap up

Workplace injuries can occur in any type of business, from a busy construction site to a quiet office and everywhere in between. 

As an employer, you have both a moral and legal responsibility to ensure that all of your staff remain safe and secure while they perform their duties. By understanding the aftershocks of a workplace accident, you can better understand the importance of workplace safety culture. 

TIME BUSINESS NEWS

TBN Editor

Time Business News Editor Team