On average, employers are spending $280 per employee helping to pay for injuries that employees and their dependents suffer at home. Additionally, when employers begin to endure “off-the-clock” highway crashes, the aggregate cost increases $19.5 billion, according to a study by the Home Safety Council.
Specific employer costs associated with this public health issue:
- employer health care spending was $15.8 billion for the one-year timeframe
- $11.8 billion was spent on sick leave and disability insurance
- $9.6 billion was spent on costs related to disruption and efforts for training/retraining or hiring new employees.
“Home injuries affect worker morale as well as the company’s bottom line. By arming their employees with guidance and information to reduce preventable injuries at home, companies protect their most valued resource: the people whose work they count on every day,” said Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council in a statement.
House of Hazards
To help combat these costs, and as part of Home Safety Month in June, the Home Safety Council is offering free advice and resources to help reduce unintentional injuries in the home, particularly the three leading causes of home injuries in the US: slips/falls, fires/burns, and poisonings. Among the tips offered to employees for around the house:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and test the batteries at least once a month.
- Plan a home fire drill and practice it at least twice a year.
- Use safety covers in electrical outlets and anti-scald devices in faucets in homes with young children.
- Make sure all porches, hallways and stairwells are well lit. Use the maximum safe wattage in light fixtures.
- Use a non-slip mat, or install strips or decals in bathtubs and showers.
- Install grab bars in bath and shower stalls.
- Keep medicines and household chemicals and cleaners up high, out of the reach of children, preferably in a locked cabinet.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector near sleeping areas in the home.
- Put the poison control center number near every phone (800-222-1222)
The Home Safety Council economic cost study looked at costs of unintentional home injuries from July 2000 – June 2001. It was conducted by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation on behalf of the Home Safety Council. More information can be found at www.homesafetycouncil.org .