Slips, trips and falls are an ever-present danger no matter what industry you work in. Every year, thousands of work-related injuries due to such slips, trips and falls occur in Australia, the most common of which include fractures, bruises, dislocations, musculoskeletal injuries, and even death.
SafeWork 2013 statisticsshow that slips, trips and falls account for about 21.2% of all injuries in Australia, making it the 2nd leading cause of workplace injuries. Such injuries, although they are not typically severe, do require extensive healing and recovery time, which in return, costs the company dearly.
Understanding Slips, Trips and Falls
In order to understand what costs we are talking about here, we first need to understand what accounts as trips, slips and falls.
A trip occurs when an individual unexpectedly catches their foot on something. The most common causes of trips include cracked floors, electrical leads, and other obstructive items in their way.
Slipping occurs when an individual/worker looses traction on the floor. The most common cause of such an incident involves wet, greasy or highly polished surface as well as inept footwear.
Fallshappen when a person either trips or slips. Falls occur from a height, missing steps on a staircase, or miscalculating the placement and height of a curb or inclined plane.
Slips, Trips and Falls – Some Statistics
Some noteworthy statistics collected from The Cost of Work-related Injury and Illness for Australian Employers, Workers and the Community: 2012–13 report provides an insight into how slips, trips, and falls affect the health of the workers and cost the employers dearly, making it pivotal for them to take better safety initiatives at workplaces. Some of the statistics include:
- Talking about the burden on economic agents, the report states that 74% of the overall cost is borne by the workers, 5% of it is borne by the employers, and 21% of it is borne by the community.
- According to the estimates presented in 2012-2013 report, slips, trips and fall-related injuries estimated to be 6,640 million with 21 worker incidents.
- The costs of work-related injuries and diseases to workers, their employers, and to the community in the 2012–12 financial year data are estimated to be around $61.8 billion.
- Work-related injuries including trips, falls, and slips account for $28 billion of the total economic cost (45%).
- The average unit cost of a work-related incident borne by economic agents is estimated to range between $116-$600.
Understanding the Costs
Work-related injuries result in heavy costs being beared by employers, workers, and the community alike. These costs can be categorized into 2 different types; direct and indirect costs. Direct costs account for items such as premiums paid by the employers, worker’s compensation, and payment by the employer to the incapacitated or injured party from the worker’s compensations jurisdiction.
On the other hand, indirect costs involve items such as loss of productivity, loss of future and current earning, loss of potential output, and the cost incurred in providing social welfare programs for those injured or those who are left incapacitated.
Slips, trip and falls account for multiple major injuries at the workplace, causing both, workers and employers, loss in terms of human and monetary resources. In what ways does it cost the worker and the employer? Let’s take a closer look at that.
Slip, trips and falls annually cost employers approximately $28 billion in terms of production and delay in work processes as a result of the workers not being able to attend their workplace due to their injuries. If we were to calculate it individually, it results in employers suffering from insurance costs, production delays, equipment damage costs, investigation time, new labour trainings, clerical efforts, fines etc. Sadly, it isn’t only the employer that suffers due to this; the employee too has to pay the cost of missed work days by doing overtime, suffering from a loss of income, injury pain, reduced life quality, stress and worry etc.
At the end of the day, it is safe to say that neither of the two parties involved gets away with it, making it pivotal for employers to take considerate measures to ensure no such incident occurs at the workplace.