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Costs of Workplace Injuries Stack up

Far too many companies in Connecticut fail to put sufficient attention on protecting workers' safety on the job. While many corporations proudly proclaim their commitments to safety, their practices may leave much to be desired. Many workplace injuries are considered to be the result of on-the-job accidents, but most of those accidents result from unsafe practices that are often overlooked or even welcomed in the workplace. In addition, many employers may consider some level of injuries to be a cost of doing business. Where improving workers' safety means rising costs or lowered profits, companies may choose to look the other way.

However, the costs of blatant disregard for workers' safety can be significant. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration can fine companies $129,336 for each incident caused by willful neglect. At the same time, that standard can be difficult to prove and is only infrequently applied. The costs of serious workplace injuries can go far beyond the imposition of fines or other state or federal sanctions, however. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the average cost of a fatal workplace injury is $1 million. That striking number includes insurance fees, workers compensation, medical bills, legal costs and similar expenses.

The real cost can be significantly higher and include a number of indirect expenses, experts note. For example, a work site may be damaged and require equipment or tool replacement. The added costs in terms of lost time, cancelled or disrupted orders, contract losses and deteriorating employee morale and public image can be substantial.

While workplace fatalities are particularly devastating, the same can also be true for other forms of injuries on the job. A workers' compensation lawyer may help injured workers take action in case of safety violations and pursue the benefits that they are entitled to.

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