When discussing injuries and the importance of working safely, we often discuss how an injury would affect an individual’s immediate family or loved ones. While this is so true the not-so-immediate effects of working unsafely need to also be discussed. There is often a far-reaching ripple effect of consequences from any incident that occurs, even if it does not result in injury or property damage.
The Ripple Effect
The ripple effect is a commonly used concept in today’s society. Merriam-Webster defines ripple effect as “a spreading, pervasive, and usually unintentional effect or influence.”
The development and implementation of a workplace safety program or the lack of such a program has a ripple effect that flows to affect other aspects of the organization. When a company has established a safety program and has educated workers on what is expected in the performance of their jobs, positive benefits flow back to that organization. The positive Ripple Effect that enhances our organization include:
- First and foremost, NO ONE GETS HURT
- Improved productivity as workers aren’t missing work due to injuries
- Improved morale among employees as they like working for a safe company
- Lower experience modification factor (EMR) Low EMR = More jobs
- Lower workers compensation insurance cost
- Improved bid position to quote jobs more competitively
- Lack of negative press that comes when serious injuries occur.
- Lack of OSHA fines due to compliance
- Avoidance of the indirect or hidden costs.
- Good showing for our clients
The reverse can be said of companies that do not have workplace safety programs. They may experience a negative ripple effect through the organization and beyond. Of the items listed above we can simply reverse the positive and state in a negative light.
We can surmise that an organization that continues to have injuries and accidents will experience the negative side of events. In addition to the above positive items being turned around into negative items there are additional negative events. In addition to the actual dollars paid out in claims and premiums to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage, there are various Indirect Cost associated with injuries and injury management.
It is estimated that indirect cost usually approach 4 times the cost of an injury. So, if a particular accident cost $10,000 to provide medical care and lost wages -the estimated indirect cost is $40,000 in ‘other’ cost to the company. Indirect cost defined- cost associated with injuries other than the claim dollars spent.
Often these costs are “hidden” in the form of non-productive activity.
Types of Indirect Costs:
- Managers time dealing with the claim; filling out claim forms, doing accident investigations, dealing with adjusters, speaking with doctors, nurses, and the injured worker, etc.
- Lost productivity of the injured worker- the injured worker was (usually) more productive than a new hire may be because they have been trained to do their particular job and have experience at that job.
- Loss of product due to contamination of blood, hair, spillage, etc.
- Loss of use of equipment due to pending investigation.
- Loss of time due to OSHA investigations.
- Time needed to hire a replacement until injured worker can return to work. Indirect cost, while “hidden”, drive up the ‘cost’ of a claim, affect morale of the staff and do not serve to increase revenue nor reduce expenses.
So as you can see we need to focus on the Positive Ripple Effects on our jobsites. We often overlook spending time to proactively manage safety and if we don’t take that proactive time then we often end up spending it on damage control after something bad happens.
What kind of ripple effect will you make? Is it pervasive in a good way? Let your work have a larger positive effect on your jobsite. Challenge those around you to have a positive effect that reaches far past the immediate jobsite they work in.