Workplace safety is a critical issue that affects both employees and employers. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), over 2.78 million people die each year from work-related accidents and diseases, with an additional 374 million workers suffering from non-fatal injuries1. This results in a staggering financial cost to businesses, the ILO estimates that workplace injuries and illnesses result in annual losses of over $2.8 trillion, or 4% of the global GDP2.
Workplace injuries and illnesses can have a wide range of causes, from hazardous working conditions and inadequate safety measures to poor training and oversight. In many cases, these injuries and illnesses are preventable, but the failure to address safety concerns can have serious consequences for both workers and their employers.
Here are five reasons why improving workplace safety is important:
Emotional and Psychological Impact
There are intangible costs associated with workplace injuries, such as the emotional and psychological impact on the injured worker and their loved ones. The physical and emotional trauma of a workplace injury can have long-term effects on an individual’s quality of life, and can even lead to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Additionally, injured workers may experience a decrease in their overall well-being, including their relationships, financial stability, and sense of purpose. These effects can be devastating and last for many years after the injury occurs.
High cost of medical treatments
In the United States alone, the average cost of a workplace injury that requires medical treatment is approximately $44,000, while the cost of a fatal workplace accident can reach up to $1.3 million3. A minor injury may only require first aid, while a more serious injury may require hospitalization, surgery, or rehabilitation. The cost of medical treatment can quickly add up, especially for more severe injuries, and can be a significant financial burden for both the injured worker and the employer.
Decreased productivity and revenue for businesses
In addition to the cost of medical treatment, workplace injuries also result in lost productivity and revenue for the business. When an employee is hurt on the job, it can be a setback for any business since their productivity has been compromised. The lack of output from this individual means that valuable time and resources have likely been wasted. This leads to decreased productivity and revenue for the business, as well as decreased income for the injured worker. Additionally, indirect costs of workplace injuries are often overlooked but can be just as significant as the direct costs. When a worker is injured on the job, the employer may need to hire and train a replacement worker, which is time-consuming and expensive.
A company’s reputation is integral to its success, and prioritising workplace safety can play a significant role in building and maintaining a positive reputation. Companies that prioritise worker safety are often perceived as responsible and trustworthy.
On the other hand, lapses in workplace safety can have negative impacts on a company’s reputation, as evidenced by criticism faced by companies such as Walmart for incidents of overcrowding, insufficient safety training, and inadequate maintenance of equipment. These safety lapses have led to a number of workplace accidents and negatively impacted Walmart’s reputation4.
In response, Walmart has made significant efforts to improve safety in its stores and warehouses5. The company implemented AI-powered cameras to monitor activity in retail stores and warehouses, detecting and alerting employees to potential safety hazards in real-time. They also used predictive analytics to identify warehouse areas with a higher risk of accidents or injuries and prioritise safety resources accordingly.
Whether it’s improving safety measures, strengthening policies to protect workers, or investing in technology to reduce the risk of future accidents, The good news is that companies have the power to make a positive difference. By doing so, they can help prevent future accidents and rebuild their reputations as responsible corporate citizens.
Improving workplace safety with AI
Investing in workplace safety is beneficial for both employees and employers. AI-powered technologies, such as cameras and predictive analytics, can monitor and detect potential safety hazards in real-time. Virtual reality and technology-based safety training programs can provide employees with hands-on experience in handling safety scenarios. By leveraging AI and technology, companies can proactively address workplace safety concerns and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.
Aicadium’s AI-powered solution, Aicadium view leverages existing camera infrastructure to detect visuals, objects, and actions in videos and images to provide workplace insights that create better products and safer, more productive industrial environments. Using cameras within facilities, Aicadium View empowers individuals and teams to make proactive data-driven decisions that seamlessly integrate into daily work routines. Employers can respond in real-time to address these safety violations, preventing accidents and improving workplace safety.
If you are interested in optimising your workplace with AI, we invite you to contact us to learn more.