ASSE urges investment in workplace safety

Oct 06, 2004

Annual fatal occupational figures, as compiled by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), indicate that 5,559 people died from job-related injuries last year.


In response, Gene Barfield, president of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), recommends all businesses, large and small, invest in workplace safety now to reduce these losses. “We urge businesses to identify risks at all workplaces, and develop and implement safety systems aimed at preventing fatalities, injuries and illness while on the job.”

Barfield says studies have shown that the indirect cost of a workplace accident can be up to 10 times that of the direct cost. For every $1 invested in an effective workplace safety program, $4 to $6 may be saved as illnesses, injuries and fatalities decline.

Indirect costs include training and compensating replacement workers; repairing damaged property; accident investigation and implementation of corrective action; scheduling delays and lost productivity; administrative expenses; low employee morale and increased absenteeism; and poor customer and community relations.

He also says companies that invest consistently in safety realize positive bottom line results, reduced absenteeism, lower turnover rates, higher productivity, increased employee moral and a positive brand image. As illnesses, injuries and fatalities decline, so to do health-care and workers’ compensation costs.


The Insurance Information Institute (III) says the average cost for workers' compensation insurance has risen 50% in the last three years, and the average medical cost per claim has nearly doubled in the last decade.

Click here  for more detailed information about the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.