The Cost of an Unsafe Workplace

30 September 2015

The Cost of an Unsafe Workplace by GoContractor

According to the  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), it is estimated that employers pay $1 billion per week for direct worker’s compensation, as a result of accidents within the workplace.

Furthermore, a report by  The American Society of Safety Engineers  says the aftermath of a fatal accident can go “far beyond” a financial cost to a company, it can also seriously threaten your workforce’s psychological health and could potentially dent their productivity in the long run. What’s clear is that there is a definitive cost associated with operating an unsafe workplace. This cost can be the result of unsafe practices, insufficient training or by not providing a safe environment for your workers. Some negative consequences can be receiving  a hefty citation from OSHA, or having to endure months of litigation. In this examination, we’re going to take a look at the cost of operating an unsafe workplace and give you some tips on how you can reduce accidents within your own workplace.

Accidents by the Numbers

According to the  Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 4,679 people were fatally killed within the workplace in 2014, a 2% increase from 2013 where the number stood at 4,585.  Fatal injuries  went up by 17% (181) in mining, up by 9% (341) in manufacturing and up by 6% (874) in construction. The number of workers involved in slips, trips and falls increased by 10% (793) in 2014.

Increase in Citations

The risk of a citation from OSHA, if your workplace was to lack appropriate health and safety protocols, is also on the increase. OSHA, have produced  a map of the most costly citations in 2015 that exceed $40,000. For instance, an Illinois-based construction firm was fined close to $2 million for 10 serious and 30 willful violations. Similarly, a manufacturer in Wisconsin got hit with a fine of close to $2 million and a North Carolina-based shipyard company was hit with $101,600.00 fine for 16 serious breaches of safety and 1 repeat. According to  Occupational Health and Safety, the most frequently violated OSHA standard in 2013 was Fall Protection, which resulted in 8,176 citations in 2013 and a total of $20 million in fines. Furthermore, speciality trade contractors paid more than $48 million in fines while smaller firms paid out more than $70 million in fines and larger companies handed out just $16.2 million.

Risks of Litigation

Financial risks are certainly a considerable cost, but increasingly many accidents and injuries can result in months of lengthy litigation cases. A new study by the Norton Rose Fulbright, which surveyed 401 participants and looked at the trends in litigation, found that 44% of construction industry respondents had regulatory proceedings against them and litigation spending costs continue to rise, with the percentage of companies spending more than $1 million rising to 71%, compared to just 53% a few years ago. Furthermore, the study says that construction and engineering companies are most likely to seek outside counsel when dealing with a lengthy litigation process, with some 42% of firms seeking that option. The financial and human cost is quite clear, but what can you do as an employer to reduce accidents within your own workplace?

How to Reduce Accidents

According to  OSHA , workplaces that implement an appropriate health and safety management system can reduce their injury and illness costs by 40%. This implementation starts with the development of a plan to ensure your workplace is safe and adheres to OSHA rules and regulations guarding workplace safety. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently published a new set of guidelines for implementing a health and safety program within your workplace.

How Can GoContractor Help?

Initiafy gives companies the ability to register and train subcontractors before they start work. This means that everyone who arrives at a site is on record as reaching a standard of safety knowledge which is set by the main contractor. Workers are safer and more knowledgeable and companies comply with training and record keeping guidelines.


GoContractor allows you to build your own safety training courses, which can be automatically assigned based on the worker’s role, the site location or the preferred language. Subcontractors can arrive on site with a knowledge of your safety culture, policies and processes.

Manage and Control

The dashboard will give you a bird’s eye view of each site and the orientation activity of your subcontractors. For the purpose of ensuring you have a safe workplace, our platform allows you to monitor the flow of workers through all of your sites.


One of the major factors in any accident is a breakdown in communication. With GoContractor, we eradicate this hurdle by ensuring you can communicate directly with your workers. All of your managers will be informed of the activity of your workers via location-specific notifications. Furthermore, your workers are also notified of refresher training or if documents have expired.


Your workers will arrive on your site fully informed on your safety culture and appropriately trained to start on day one. Workers have registered all of their details, uploaded documentation and completed their training, ensuring you don’t have to worry about the cost of an unsafe workplace.

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Sonya Sikra

Sonya is the Brand Strategy Manager at GoContractor. She specializes in communicating how implementing tech in construction can drive productivity and profit.

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