Employees should be kept safe while they work. But when corners are cut to save money on safety measures, those savings will soon transform into expenses. An injured employee means that the company has to operate without them. This leads to lower productivity, which ultimately impacts the company’s bottom line.
Let’s look at exactly how cutting corners on safety will cost a company money. And, why investing in warehouse safety saves you money.
Repeated OSHA Violations Cost You Money
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) performs nearly 25,000 facility inspections yearly. Its objective is to ensure a safe work environment for all employees. OSHA provides guidelines that employers must follow to ensure workplace safety. Failure to follow those guidelines will result in the following citations and penalties.
Other than serious violations: These are violations that would not usually lead to death or serious injury but are related to job safety and employee health. These are referred to as serious violations. They carry a maximum penalty of $15,625 per violation.
Serious violations: When an employer knows of a situation that has a chance of causing serious injury or death but does not resolve it. The maximum penalty is $15,625 per violation.
Willful violation: Includes intentional violations of OSHA rules that show disregard for employee health and safety. A safety inspector may identify a potential danger on a property. If the owner fails to take action to prevent the hazard or inform others of it, this is negligence. The maximum penalty is $156,259 per violation.
Repeated violations: Occurs after an employer is cited for a violation and a following inspection reveals an identical or similar violation. The maximum fine is $156,259 per violation.
Failure to abate: If an employer fails to correct a previously cited hazardous condition, OSHA may issue a failure to abate citation. The penalty is $15,625 per day beyond the abate date.
Some of the most common safety violations as reported by OSHA:
- Forklift Safety
- Electrical Safety
- Fall Protection
- Hazard Communication
- Machine Guarding
OSHA pays close attention to companies with a history of safety violations or for violations that resulted in serious injuries or deaths. It is important for employers to take OSHA regulations seriously and to address violations immediately.
Happy Warehouse Workers, Happy Life
Most warehouse workers can appreciate warehouses that provide safe environments. The safer the environment, the better their peace of mind in going about their workday. When safety is a top priority, it improves employee morale and employees feel valued.
On the other hand, an unsafe work environment has an opposing effect and can have indirect costs. It destroys motivation, inhibits employee engagement, and reduces job satisfaction. Turnover rates can skyrocket, producing a workplace that lacks seasoned employees who help foster a healthy culture.
Likewise, employee retention in the warehouse industry can be a challenge. But employers can get a handle on it if they are consistently strategic. Strategies that can improve employee retention will involve a combination of:
- Competitive wages and benefits: Offering a competitive salary, retirement and health benefits, paid time off, and flexible scheduling help employers hire and retain employees.
- Employee engagement: Social outings and team-building activities help build morale and foster a culture that encourages a sense of community.
- Safe working conditions and training: Lighting, water, multiple restrooms, temperature control, and ongoing safety training improves job satisfaction.
It is always a great idea to create standards that set employees up for success. Employers should make sure they have the tools and knowledge to properly do their jobs. It is also important to provide training on the tools in the environment they will encounter day to day. Proper training and equipment allow everyone to feel capable of handling tasks and be prepared to prevent accidents.
Accidents Can Add Up
Failure to comply with safety regulations will result in the penalties previously outlined, but those aren’t the only prices to pay when safety is an afterthought.
In 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 183,800 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in the warehousing and storage industry. Alabama accounted for 2,400 of those injuries. The most common nonfatal injuries in the state were sprains, strains, tears, cuts, lacerations, and punctures. OSHA reports that nearly $1 billion per week in workers’ compensation is paid for injuries and illnesses in the U.S. by employers.
The National Safety Council reported the total cost of work injuries in 2020 was $163.9 billion. This total includes wage and productivity losses of $44.8 billion, administrative expenses of $61 billion, medical expenses of $34.9 billion, and $12.8 billion for employers’ uninsured costs. The cost of hours missed due to injury can be broken down further with estimates of:
- $1,100 per worker
- $1,310,000 per death
- $44,000 per injury requiring medical attention
If it hasn’t been made clear by now, accidents cost money. Repairs for a forklift alone can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
Expensive repairs and damages to equipment or the warehouse can be avoided by implementing safety measures that help with traffic management. Utilize navigational tools such as signs, markings, and color codes. These are small details that contribute to the reduction of unnecessary mishaps.
Workplace safety is a continuous investment. Yes, direct safety measures such as lighting and signage are key but creating an environment where the company and the employees are both committed to safety is just as valuable. Taking safety seriously and making the necessary investment will always be worthwhile.
Your employees, equipment, insurance premiums, and profit margin will all thank you. These are safety investments we can all get behind.
SynTech has over 40 years of experience providing training and equipment making work sites safer. We are also the #1 sales and service provider of the HIT-NOT proximity detection system. Protect your people and property. Call the knowledgeable SynTech team at (256) 571-5024.