What’s the real cost of workplace safety?

From reputational damage and employee retention, to legal fees and medical costs, keeping workers safe must be the number one priority for employers. And while industry and manufacturing are, by their nature, riskier than many other workplaces, employers must invest more in keeping their workers safe or risk serious financial harm.

Serious repercussions

Recent statistics show that workplace injuries cost the U.S. economy roughly $52 billion to $60 billion per year — that’s at least $1 billion per week. In the UK, an average of 82,000 workers were injured in workplace accidents annually between 2016/17 and 2018/19. Given the UK has a workforce of only 33 million this is an incredibly high percentage, which equates to about £1.7m per fatal injury and £8,500 per non-fatal injury. But it’s not just the direct costs, such as medical and legal fees, that mount up. There can also be huge impact from fines, equipment or material damage, absenteeism, decreased productivity and increased employee turnover as well. In the United States, companies could also find themselves on the annual ‘Dirty Dozen’ list of safety offenders compiled by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH).

Using technology to protect workers

However, the latest innovative solutions can help manufacturers on their journey to creating better working conditions. New technology like autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) can increase workplace safety by taking on repetitive, risk prone tasks like transporting pallets or goods, without human interaction. They use a multi-sensor safety system to avoid collisions, and take the best routes. Models like the MiR1000, for example, has a payload of 1,000kg (2,200lbs), making it a challenger to the traditional forklift. Not only does that mean less strain on the body, it also means workers are less at risk of collisions, and more likely to find more complex, value adding tasks to complete. On top of that, the robots help prevent fatigue, further decreasing the likelihood of human error fueled accidents.

Adding safety to the ROI

Given the high risks of workplace injuries in manufacturing, businesses that want to attract and retain the best workforce, avoid huge fines and costs, must do more to create business plans that include the true value of a safe workforce.


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