“The prevention of accidents should not be considered a question of legislation, but instead our responsibility to fellow beings and economic sense.”
Werner von Siemens,1880
Given the increasingly decreasing number of qualified and motivated skilled workers – especially for small- and medium-scale companies – an industrial accident or an occupational disease may have severe economic consequences.
The expenses for maintaining a smooth course of business resulting thereof for your company will normally be higher than taking reasonable provisions in the field of occupational health and safety, such as the performance of a risk assessment, would have cost you. On the one hand, these are labour costs for injured employees (salary plus statutory, tariff, and voluntary benefits).
Additional costs may, among others, be incurred for material expenses, machine downtimes, and production downtime or insurance costs. In addition to personal suffering, consequential charges may be incurred due to higher insurance premiums and, in the worst case, even penal proceedings.
Please note: Given an average sick leave period of 15.2 days per employee, this results in a total of 587.4 million sick leave days in 2015. Based on this sick leave volume, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimates the economic production losses to amount to a total of € 64 billion and the loss of gross value added to amount to € 113 billion.
Source: Volkswirtschaftliche Kosten durch Arbeitsunfähigkeit 2015 (in German)