Work Injuries Mean Lost Time, Increased Costs

March is “Self-injury Awareness Month,” so it seems fitting to talk about the cost of work-related injuries. The total cost of work injuries in 2019 was $171.0 billion. This figure includes wage and productivity losses of $53.9 billion, medical expenses of $35.5 billion, and administrative expenses of $59.7 billion.

This total also includes employers’ uninsured costs of $13.3 billion, including the value of time lost by workers other than those with disabling injuries who are directly or indirectly involved in injuries, and
the cost of time required to investigate injuries, write up injury reports, and so forth. The total also includes damage to motor vehicles in work-related injuries of $5.0 billion and fire losses of $3.7 billion.

The cost per worker in 2019 was $1,100. This includes the value of goods or services each worker must produce to offset the cost of work injuries. It is not the average cost of a work-related injury.

Cost per medically consulted injury in 2019 was $42,000, while the cost per death was $1,220,000. These figures include estimates of wage losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, and employer costs,
but exclude property damage costs except to motor vehicles.

Below are Shop Safety Program suggestions published by Rural Lifestyle Dealer:

No matter a company’s situation, one factor remains consistent: a safety program is a must.

be modeled and supported starting from the top down, then lived by every team member, every day.


While safety is everyone’s job, the oversight of a safety program should have one person for which it is a primary responsibility. The first step of building a safety program is designating a Safety Lead at each location. Appointing a management-level team member to this position will mean the program is properly enforced and demonstrates the company’s leadership’s commitment to the program.


Any ongoing effort in a dealership needs to include regular reviews and follow-up strategies as part of the overall plan and this includes safety initiatives as well.

Accidents are going to happen. Incidents will take place. Even the best safety plan isn’t immune to human error. It’s important to employ follow-up strategies to learn from accidents. To be successful, these initiatives must be treated for improvement, not for placing blame.

Safety Leads should consider sharing incident reports with employees and other stores, anonymously, to bring awareness to an issue and to try to prevent it from occurring again in their own dealership or elsewhere.

Promote ongoing communication.

Like following-up on incidents, ongoing communication is key to a safety program’s success. Not only does frequent communication ensure safety remains at the top of your mind, but it’s also a great way to keep seasonal workers and interns in the loop on important safety initiatives.

Ongoing safety communication can include sharing safety tips online via email or on a bulletin board, or by holding more formal discussions, such as a daily safety reminder or monthly meeting that dives into a
larger topic. Discussions can be built into meetings already taking place or provide a reason to bring the staff together more often.


Once a safety program’s processes have been put into place, leadership can begin to identify actionable changes that can be implemented as new safety policies.


While some successes can be measured with simple feedback, there are options to add data-driven metrics to gauge a safety program’s success and to look for ways to improve. While not one of the crucial steps needed to build a dealership’s safety program, it’s a tip worth mentioning, especially for those that already have established programs and are looking to improve.