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Industrial accidents – financial detriments

“Worker injured in industrial accident.” “Industrial accident claims worker’s life.” Unfortunately, tragic headlines like these are all too common in the news, and their effects are far-reaching. Employees, their families, employers and the economy all suffer the consequences of industrial accidents; workplace accidents and injuries not only alter a victim’s life, but they carry significant financial ramifications.

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Although the number of accidents and injuries has steadily decreased over the last 20 years, there are still too many accidents occurring that threaten the health and well-being of workers every day. Industrial jobs like manufacturing and construction are considered to be some of the most dangerous. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the construction industry only accounts for five percent of the British population, however the industry is responsible for 22 percent of all fatal injuries and ten percent of the major injuries that were reported. Likewise, the manufacturing industry made up ten percent of the workforce in 2011/2012 and accounted for 25 percent of the fatalities and 16 percent of the injuries.

In Bournemouth just recently, a young man working for Magellan Aerospace UK, a company that makes and assembles aircraft components, suffered a serious accident in which his arm was severed. In a separate incident last month, a contracted worker from Blackpool was injured while on a construction site near Seaford. He suffered a fractured rib and abdominal injuries, as well as an ankle injury from a moving crane. Both men are said to be recovering and the two companies are working with the HSE to investigate the incidents and ensure the health and safety of their current workforce and the prompt recovery of their injured employees.

Every industrial accident and work-related injury imposes costs on employees, employers and the government. Consequently, these costs lead to a decrease in revenue for businesses. The HSE just released figures for the 2010/2011 year, revealing that workplace injuries and fatalities cost employers about £3.166 million – nearly 95 percent of that money is allocated towards worker’s compensation and sick pay. Other direct costs of accidents include medical expenses and legal fees and indirect costs are those such as repairs to equipment, accident investigation costs, training replacement employees and a general loss in productivity.

These accidents and others can occur at any point in time, and do not just affect large companies. Smaller businesses may take even more of a hit if they do not have the finances to support such a big accidents or major injury. To prevent a loss in revenue and company morale, businesses big and small should invest more time and money into securing the health and safety of their employees. Firstly, it is necessary to identify anything that could cause harm, implement safety measures and then perform regular maintenance checks and investigations to ensure everything is safe. While these costs may be significant, they are minute compared to what one would have to pay in compensation and other fees.

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