No matter how impressive, CNB Safe understands that workplace safety goes beyond just numbers. Safe Work Australia’s report, “Safer, healthier, wealthier: The economic value of reducing work-related injuries and illnesses,” defines the financial impact of workplace incidents, but it’s crucial to recognise the unquantifiable costs that affect individuals, families, and communities in profound ways. Our dedicated speakers share their thoughts below on the immeasurable toll of workplace incidents and remind us why we need to commit to safety, together.
The report’s statistics reveal the shocking economic consequences of work-related injuries and illnesses in Australia. According to Deloitte Access Economics’ analysis, if we had managed to eliminate these incidents between 2008 and 2018, the Australian economy would have been $28.6 billion larger each year. That’s a staggering figure, which could even surpass $29.1 billion when considering the long-term impacts. It clearly shows the heavy financial burden borne by businesses, communities, and the nation as a whole.
And the intangible
However, to truly grasp the profound impact of workplace incidents, we must acknowledge that the real cost extends well beyond financial measurements. Our CNB Safe speakers provide powerful insights into the intangible consequences that leave lasting imprints on people’s lives.
Michelle Rath shares the heart-wrenching story of her son, Alex, whose life was tragically cut short due to an incident that should never have happened. She reflects on the immeasurable loss, emphasising that proper supervision could have prevented this devastating outcome.
Alan Newey echoes Michelle’s sentiments, emphasising that the true cost cannot be quantified solely through financial figures. He describes the emotional toll on families, friends, and colleagues and the long-lasting ripple effects that extend far beyond the immediate aftermath of the incident.
Michael Weston offers his own perspective, focusing on both the “Business Costs” and the “Human Cost.” Having personally experienced a Total & Permanent Disability (TPD), Michael now emphasises the “Human Cost.” He highlights that while businesses may recover financially through insurance or equipment replacement, the loss of a loved one or a permanent impairment can never be compensated for. The physical and psychological pain endured by the injured individual, as well as the profound and far-reaching impact on family, friends, work colleagues, and first responders, cannot be remedied by money. Humans are not replaceable objects; their value surpasses any financial measurement.
Woody sheds light on another aspect of the true cost, emphasising that when people think of workplace incidents, they often immediately consider the financial implications, like the loss of income, production costs, medical expenses, or funeral costs. However, Woody points out that the hidden costs include the breakdown of relationships, the impact on children who lose a parent or witness their injury, and the immeasurable toll on parents who experience the pain of their child being hurt or killed. Unfortunately, these costs often become obvious only when it’s too late, which causes further trauma and anguish long after the initial incident.
Woody’s message is crystal clear – the cost of a workplace incident goes way beyond what meets the eye. It has multiple facets and deeply affects lives in ways we can’t underestimate. To prevent these hidden costs and protect the well-being of individuals and their communities, prioritising workplace safety is crucial.
Striking the Balance
Finding the right balance is essential. The report “Safer, healthier, wealthier” sheds light on the significant economic impacts of work-related injuries and illnesses, but we must remember that the true cost extends well beyond financial figures.
By acknowledging and addressing both the tangible and intangible costs, we can cultivate a culture of safety that not only protects businesses and the economy but also saves lives. Let’s work together to create safer work environments where no family has to endure the devastating consequences of preventable incidents.
The true cost of workplace safety is immeasurable, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure a safer, healthier, and more prosperous future for all.