Workers in Virginia can face serious risks on the job, especially when companies fail to prioritize workplace safety. While many work sites proclaim their commitment to safety, this does not mean that all companies regularly place the health of workers above other concerns, such as saving money or increasing profits. Instead, they may consider the cost of paying for worker injuries to be just another cost of doing business.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fines corporate violators $129,336 when on-the-job accidents are caused by willful neglect. However, many workplace injuries don't meet that standard, at least at first glance. For example, some safety incidents are caused by preventable actions that are blatantly unsafe. Companies can also go beyond a lack of attention to worker safety and actually cover up the real extent of injuries on the job. One automaker is being investigated in California for characterizing workplace injuries as personal medical issues that took place off the job.
Many companies also fail to consider the true, high price of serious worker injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that when a worker loses their life on the job, the average outright financial cost is $1 million. In addition, there are many unseen costs that can accompany worker injuries and fatalities. These include replacing damaged equipment and tools, lost or delayed orders, missed production deadlines and the loss of goodwill due to negative publicity and lowered morale.
In many cases, an excessive injury rate at a particular company could point to a corporate approach that fails to protect workplace safety. Workers who have been hurt on the job can consult a workers' compensation lawyer to protect their rights and pursue the benefits to which they are entitled.