The Cost of Workplace Deaths

By Frank Kenna

That seems a harsh way of looking at it, but there is a very defined way to look at the costs of workplace deaths and injuries.

Last week, OSHA released findings about the explosion at the Kleen Energy Systems power plant Middletown, CT on Feb. 7, 2010. The OSHA news release detailed 314 violations against 3 companies and 14 contractors involved at the site.  This accident was particularly relevant to me, as I live in Connecticut where the accident occurred.  Sitting at my desk at home that Saturday morning, I felt my house shake from the explosion – over 20 miles away.

The cost in human terms: the blast killed six workers and injured 50 others.  In dollars (so far): $16.6 million in penalties, which is in addition to the numerous lawsuits, many of which have already been filed by employees, families and neighbors surrounding the plant. And those don’t include the costs of interruption to the company, lost business, profits and reputation.

One of the factors citied in the OHSA compliance release was about, “failing to train employees to recognize hazards associated with gas blows.”  While there were other contributing factors, training and making safety visible are areas that we at Marlin know about.  We publish workplace safety posters in both print and digital formats to help companies like Kleen Energy keep their safety issues in the front and center of their employees’ attention.

It’s obvious that no company wants to have any type of accidents, particularly of the type at Kleen Energy.  Keeping safety information in front of all employees, 24/7 is one of the easiest, most proven ways to reduce their frequency.

Frank Kenna III
August 10, 2010

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