Back to list

Compliance: The Cost of Injury

Wednesday 16, Oct 2019


Compliance expert Terry Muir asks when was the last time you went to your manager with an idea that would save money, jobs, lives and limbs?


I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard this old chestnut – “Our sports turf maintenance operations just chew up cash, it’s nothing but a cost centre.”  So managers look at what to cut and what to keep and in too many cases, environment, health, and safety (EHS) ends up in the “cut” options. 

The reason for this is undoubtedly due to the basic misperception of what being safe is – if everything goes as it should, it is business as usual with no accidents and no injuries, no regulator investigations, no laws to comply with and no need to make that difficult family telephone call.  

However, in the real world it’s not always business as usual, as evidenced by the following data from Safework Australia. Safework Australia reports that of the 13.4 million persons who had worked at some time in the last 12 months:


  • One in 20 of them (563,000) experienced their most recent work-related injury or illness.
  • 42 per cent took 1-4 days off;
  • 26 per cent took 11 or more days off;
  • 16 per cent took 5-10 days off;
  • 11 per cent took off part of a day or shift;
  • 6 per cent had not returned to work since an injury or illness occurred
  • Fractures, wounds, lacerations and amputations average cost impacts were $90,150 and $65,400 respectively per case.
  • The direct cost to the business of even a short work absence as a result of a work injury is $4180.
  • In NSW, during 2016/17 the average weeks off was 5.3 weeks per injury.
  • Mental health and deafness were the top two occupational health issues in NSW and the average gross incurred cost for occupational diseases was $34,584.


Many employers incorrectly assume that worker’s compensation is the only cost associated with work-related injuries.  The direct costs of treating a workplace injury or illness are just the tip of the iceberg.  They form only about 20 per cent of a company’s total liability from a workplace incident. 

The real cost of a workplace accident is at least 5 times what you think it is (Source: Safework Australia).  It is estimated that for every $1 in direct costs associated with workplace injury and disease, there are another $5 to $7 dollars in indirect costs. 


To read the full story from Terry Muir click here