The struggle is real. Implement a safety program, complete a ton of paperwork outlining hazards, legal responsibilities, provide training etc. It's a lot to manage for a company - and at what cost?
The numbers are staggering, since there is more government enforcement and requirements for Safety Programs to contain various elements, the rate of work-related injury where WCB benefits were received has been declining since 1987. The rate of 48.9 work related injuries per 1,000 workers declined continuously to 14.7 work related injuries per 1,000 employed Canadians in 2010.
Although industry-type plays a critical role in reflecting work related incidents (workers in construction experiencing 24.5% incidents per 1000 workers versus 0.6% per 1000 workers for the Financial industry - Canada 2008 Statistic it is still important to recognize hazards in both work atmospheres, and all industries in between. For example: An accountant may experience a chronic repetitive strain injury making them unable to perform work, resulting in a WCB claim, lost time etc. And while the cost of the accountants WCB claim may be much lower overall than that of an equipment operator who has experienced a substantial collision accident, it demonstrates very clearly that any personnel may be affected by Health or Safety negligence regardless of their role.
In Canada 2008, there were approximately 3 occupational fatalities each day of the year.
In USA 2007, there were approximately 161.9 occupational fatalities each day of the year.
It is not just fatalities that hit the pocketbooks of employers and industries though, occupational illness is also another sinkhole costing upwards of (US)250$ billion lost annually.
US based NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. explains "[It] is important [to highlight] the economic burden of occupational illness. Gaining a better understanding of the burden helps NIOSH (USA National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health) and our partners make the case that preventing work-related injuries and illnesses is part of a wise national strategy for economic recovery and growth. Such data also may inform innovative approaches for building or enhancing corporate safety and health cultures."
The total number of occupational illness and injury deaths in 2007 (59,102) was greater than the number of deaths from causes such as motor vehicle crashes (43,945), breast cancer (40,970), prostate cancer (29,093), and homicide (18,361).
It is our duty to educate and empower personnel through knowledge. Knowledge is power - and this power may help us prevent or reduce risk of an accident or fatality for ourselves or fellow workers in the workplace. Safety is everyone's responsibility!
As previously stated, a living Safety Program is a big can of worms for a company to open, but due diligence is key to ensuring a safe work environment and protection of personnel from both Acute and Chronic Health and Safety concerns.