Work accidents

According to CNESST's 2017 statistical report, there would have been 86,223 employees who suffered a workplace accident, including 62 deaths. Even so, this figure is down from the previous year. First of all, it is important to distinguish between an occupational accident and an occupational disease. An occupational accident is defined as an event that could not be foreseen, that occurs suddenly and that is due to any cause. An accident at work occurs by or during the course of work and where an occupational injury is caused. Whereas an occupational disease occurs by the fact or on the occasion of work and which is specific to the work performed or has a direct link to the particular risks of that work.

In fact, here are four characteristics that make it possible to highlight an occupational injury that occurred as a workplace accident :

  • The event is sudden and unforeseen
  • The event occurs when the employee performs one of the tasks assigned to him according to his job description.
  • The task he performs is requested by his immediate superior, while he is on his shift (he is then under the subordination of the employer).
  • The employee was injured as a result of the task performed.

These work accidents generate direct and indirect costs to the organization. Direct costs can be the amounts that must be withheld when injuries occur, such as costs related to the injury. Indirect costs may be deficits generated by the company when a workplace accident occurs that are accounted for as something other than a loss. Recorded hours are used to manage the event and include first aid, investigation, analysis and reporting. Indirect costs can easily exceed the direct costs to an organization and have a significant impact.

Apart from a good prevention plan, it is to the advantage of the organization to invest in OHS to reduce avoidable costs. Two good reasons are highlighted for investing in OHS, and among them are financial benefits. Indeed, investing in OHS for organizations reduces direct and indirect costs. Through effective prevention, a decrease in workplace accidents as well as an improvement in quantity and quality occurs. Inevitably, this leads to lower compensation and production costs. The second reason is the production benefits. These result from organizational benefits where prevention opens up the possibility of a healthy environment for workers and better labour relations between workers and the employer. Products and services come to the forefront as a result of these measures, while a greater quality and credibility of the company's image is present.

By Jolly Sabbagh

1 LAROCHE, E., DIONNE-PROULX, J. et LEGAULT, M-J. (2013), Health Management and safety at work Quebec, Cheneliere Education


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