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Occupational Health and Safety costs : a healthy combination of prevention and management

Written by : ADP Canada
2007-03-15
When we speak of occupational health and safety costs, employers immediately think of their CSST bill (assessment). However, did you know that for each dollar you pay directly to the CSST, there are between $2 and $5 (and sometimes more) of indirect and related costs that are virtually disregarded but that nonetheless represent a very sizeable expense for the company. Just think of the equipment breakage involved in an accident, production stoppages, the fact of having to replace the injured worker, the demotivating impact on co-workers, the need to train the replacement worker, the time spent on the accident investigation and analysis, etc. While none of these costs appear on your CSST assessment, they should impel to you take charge of and control the management of occupational health and safety in your company.

Obviously, the best way to control costs and manage the consequences of an accident will always be to prevent it from happening in the first place, and to implement an action plan, as well as effective policies and procedures, in the area of prevention. These procedures must be integrated into all your daily production activities. To bear fruit, a concern for occupational health and safety must form an integral part of the practices of your organization, your evaluation instruments, your work methods, and even your reflexes as a manager. While integrating this concern may not seem simple initially, there is a very big chance that you will find, in actual practice, that prevention activities have a positive impact on the smooth running of your operations by improving employee motivation and promoting the use of work methods that have been analyzed and rethought from the safety, and efficiency, point of view.

If an employment injury occurs despite your prevention efforts, as a good manager, you must find out the appropriate ways of controlling the related costs. The four main ways are:

  • Medical examination.
  • Temporary work assignment.
  • Reintegration into work.
  • Load factors.
Did you know that you bear the financial responsibility for an industrial accident for a period of four years? For example, if an accident occurs in 2003, all the related medical, income replacement, physiotherapy and other costs that arise in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 will be added to your employer experience file and used to compute your CSST assessment.

Did you know that the higher your payroll is, the greater the financial impact of the costs of employment injuries and the more responsibility you bear for them? For example, a small employer with only a few employees will receive a CSST assessment that is relatively little influenced by the costs of its injuries. The CSST will bill such an employer primarily in light of the risks associated with all the enterprises involved in the same category of production. Conversely, when a higher payroll is involved, the CSST considers that the employer is in a better position to assume its responsibilities regarding prevention and establishes its assessment by placing greater importance on the company's employment injury costs.

With more than 50,000 clients across Canada, ADP Canada (ADP) is the country’s largest provider of employer-related services. Among ADP Canada’s traditional outsourcing products and services and those offered via the internet, the company offers payroll, human resources management, time and labour management, as well as occupational health and safety, and comprehensive outsourcing and consulting services. ADP Canada pays one in five Canadians.
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