On the Job or Off the Job – Injuries are Injuries

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“Joe won’t be at training today, he had ACL surgery a few days ago”. Occasionally I will be told something along those lines as I arrive for a client visit. My first question is “how did that happen.” Oh he did it while playing in the yard with his kids. I have to admit that one of my first thoughts is “well at least it didn’t happen at work. The safety record is still intact.” Don’t take this the wrong way. I still care about the employee who got hurt and hope they recover well. Somehow though the off the job injury feels that it has a much different impact for my client than the injury that happens at work. But is it really that different?
The difference really comes down to the issue of who is going to pay for the medical costs of the accident? If it is a workplace injury, the medical costs are paid by workers compensation. Medical costs of an injury off the job are borne by the individual. Workers compensation will also provide a partial replacement of income up to a certain time period.
When we look at the costs of a workplace injury, we look at the direct and indirect costs. Direct costs are mainly medical costs and lost wages for the worker. It is the indirect costs that are not insured and will generally hit the companies bottom line. Losing the worker, especially an experienced one, results in reduced productivity, hiring costs and training costs. The employee may not be able to return to work depending on the nature of the injury.
So as a colleague reminded me “there is no work-life balance, there is just life”. Unsafe conditions and unsafe acts at home are just as likely to result in serious injury and perhaps death. With that in mind, we at OSH Solutions will be initiating an off the job safety emphasis beginning after Labor Day.
Here is what we have planned. A weekly email promoting safety off the job called the “Take Home” will be emailed to safety tip subscribers Thursday afternoon. We will incorporate off the job safety into our safety training sessions with greater purpose. Newsletters and updates will include home safety tips. Out hope is that this information will be shared with families and passed along to friends.

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