Workplace Safety Affects Bottom Line: Survey

August 29, 2001 ( - An overwhelming 95% of respondents to a survey by the Liberty Mutual Group believe workplace safety has a positive impact on a company's financial performance, with 24% of these reporting a substantial positive impact.

Furthermore, 86% of respondents feel workplace safety provides a return on
investment. Of these:

  • just over 60% feel that $3 or more is saved for each $1 invested in workplace safety
  • 13 % report a $10 return for each $1 invested.

Direct Costs Relates to Indirect Costs

Another huge majority, 93%, reported a close relationship between the direct costs, such as payments to injured employees and indirect costs, such as lost productivity associated with a workplace accident.

In particular:

  • two-fifths felt that between $3 and $5 dollars of indirect costs exist for each $1 of direct costs
  • the median response was that $3 of indirect costs exist for each $1 of direct costs.

By comparing the findings on indirect costs with its own research on the direct costs of workplace accidents and illness, Liberty Mutual calculated US businesses are paying a staggering $155 billion to $232 billion on workers compensation losses annually.

The group estimates that the total direct cost of all workplace accidents was $38.7 billion in 1998, the most recent year for which data was available.

Further Findings

The study also revealed that:

  • over 80% of respondents feel their company currently places a high priority on workplace safety
  • 70% believe that protecting employees is a leading benefit of workplace safety
  • almost half feel that protecting employees from the human and financial costs is the top benefit of workplace safety programs.

Survey results are based on interviews with 200 executives responsible for workers compensation and other commercial insurance at 125 mid-size firms, employing 100 to 999 employees, and 75 large companies, with over 1,000 employees.