A new study found that worker safety in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the nation may be linked to a company’s financial health. Researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas used injury data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine that injury rates increase during times of negative cash flow and decrease during times of positive cash flow. They also found that the value of a company decreases after an increase in injury accidents.
Often, a company that is experiencing cash flow issues will pay off debts as opposed to making investments in safety. This is because the monthly or quarterly debts are defined costs that are easier to account for. Worker safety tends to be a broader investment that is made over a longer period of time, which makes it harder to accurately budget and account for.
Instead of a set dollar amount, the costs of worker injuries include an inability to hire workers or a loss of productivity because of those injuries. However, researchers say that it is important to consider investing in worker safety as it benefits both employers and shareholders. Employers may be able to meet this goal by maintaining equipment, buying newer equipment that has increased safety features or automating any job that may be too dangerous for a human to undertake.
OSHA citations and workplace injuries may cost employers thousands of dollars per incident in direct costs and lost productivity. Injured workers may be entitled to compensation for medical bills as well as a portion of their salary while they are out of work. Those who are too injured to return to work may receive benefits on a permanent basis. An injured worker may consult with an attorney to learn more about his or her rights after being hurt.