Time Heals All Wounds – 2/6/23

Safety E-Quick Tip

OWYN Safety Mgmt Platform

Time Heals All Wounds

It’s been said that time heals all wounds.

But when it comes to workplace accidents, that isn’t always the case.

Let’s think about it.

One of your key employees shortcuts fall protection and falls 10’ to the ground. On his way down his brain kicks in and he reacts by trying to break the fall with his hands.

The result, 2 broken wrists and an overnight stay in the hospital. The company and the employee will take a hit for 6-10 weeks but that should be it, right?

Wrong.  OSHA was called and came to the site and said that everything looked pretty good, and they only saw a few things that were wrong.  So they said they would take it back and their boss and they would decide if citations were going to be issued.

It’s been 12 weeks and your employee is still not back to work because after some additional x-rays, they found a cracked vertebra and he’ll need another 6-10 weeks to heal enough to get back to work.

It’s been almost 6 months since the accident and OSHA’s visit, and you still haven’t heard back from them, so you are feeling pretty good until you receive a certified letter from OSHA. Did I mention OSHA has up to 6 months after their first inspection to issue a citation?

The good news is your employee is back to work, but now you must deal with 7 OSHA citations, some of which had nothing to do with the accident and the penalties totaled more than $14,000. You negotiated with OSHA and got the penalties reduced to $10,500 and you can make payments for a year with no interest.

This is finally behind you.

A couple years go by when you get the call. OSHA is on another one of your jobs and you hear these familiar words: “Everything looked pretty good and I only saw a few things that were wrong.  I’ll take this back to my boss, and they will decide if citations are going to be issued.”

Another few months go by, and there’s a certified letter sitting on your desk. You get that sinking feeling in the pit of your gut, your hands begin to sweat, and you’re thinking to yourself, “I don’t want to open this. It can’t be good news.”

It isn’t, it’s 4 citations with 2 repeat violations with $26,000 in penalties. Those 2 repeat offenses really jacked up those penalties.

About repeat violations. Did you know that OSHA violations stay on your record forever and for 5 years a similar violation can be classified as a repeat, or even Willful? And we don’t want talk about the ramifications and cost of Willful violations.

We haven’t even gotten into the effect accidents might have on your Experience Modification Rate (EMR), which is an increase in Workers’ Compensation costs and the inability to bid some work because the EMR is too high.

Or the fact that your employee might have issues later in life due to the accident.

You see, sometimes the saying, “Time Heals All Wounds,” is not the case.  When we’re talking about accidents in the workplace, often those wounds never heal.

Employee QuickTip

Old wounds from accidents years ago tend to creep up on you later in life at a time when those aches and pains from just getting older are bad enough. Keep that in mind when you think about cutting corners with workplace safety.  You’ll want to enjoy those Golden Years.

Employer/Management QuickTip

The monetary costs of workplace accidents are bad enough on their own without adding in the lost work time and losing an employee for some time or forever. Rather than having to think to yourself, “Why did I let them do it that way?” wouldn’t it just be easier and more cost effective to do it the safe way?

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Thanks for Reading and Please – “Have a Safe and Happy New Year”.