Equipment inspections shouldn’t be viewed as a burden but as opportunities to reduce costs, improve productivity, gain a competitive advantage, and ensure safety.
Safety Inspections ensure that all equipment is safe before use but their primary purpose is to protect people. Employees gain peace of mind through regular safety inspections knowing that their workplace is committed to preventing injuries and illnesses. There are also compelling business reasons for using equipment inspections to increase safety, such as:
Workplace injuries lower productivity due to lost work time.
When workers are injured, they cannot physically perform their work and, therefore, cannot make it to their scheduled shifts. When the company lacks the workforce and resources, there may be no one to replace the worker until they are fully recovered. Injuries also affect other employees. When coworkers are injured, particularly by faulty, poorly maintained equipment, other workers won’t feel safe in their workplaces, affecting their performance and negatively impacting their productivity.
Workplace injuries result in costly worker compensation claims.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2019. According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance’s (NCCI) Workers Compensation statistical data, the average cost of worker compensation claims in 2018-2019 was $42,008. In 2020, Florida reported 73,254 claims with average benefits of $20,146. While the average had seemingly gone down, this can be explained by the global pandemic, which had significantly reduced operations. Still, in 2020, Texas reported 99,850 workers’ compensation claims. Alarmingly, the majority of injuries involved in workers’ compensation claims are preventable.
Some of the most common worker compensation injuries involve machinery accidents, being struck by or against an object, slipping, trips, and falls. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says worker deaths from falls are the second-most common type of fatality. Fall injuries account for almost $70 billion in workers’ compensation medical claims annually. Fall injuries are highly preventable by implementing and following safety practices. For example, through pre-use inspections, workers ensure that ladders are placed on even, solid surfaces before using them.
A record of regular, properly conducted inspections provides liability protection and due diligence.
Regular, properly conducted equipment inspections not only help maintain a safe working environment, but the practice also helps keep insurance costs down. Insurers inspect your business to identify potential hazards and evaluate your safety practices to determine your level of risk. The less risk to insure, the more likely your premiums will be lower.
Failure to conduct equipment inspections as required by law can result in fines and extreme liability exposure.
When companies make regular equipment inspections a key practice, they can reduce the costly risks of liability exposure, fines, and non-compliance. Companies that do not follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations can face serious violations and hefty penalties. The maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations is $8,000 to $145,027 per violation.
As more inspections become a requirement, it can be easy to forget their most important purpose - to protect your people.