Prevention makes business sense

Prevention makes business sense

Occupational health and safety (OHS) systems aim to safeguard employees by preventing occupational injuries and diseases in the workplace, as far as is reasonably practicable. Without efficient safety measures in place, avoidable injuries are likely to occur, affecting the financial and legal functions of a business.

“As a leading administrator of work-related injuries and health-related benefits, Rand Mutual Assurance (RMA) has launched a prevention programme to supplement its clients’ OHS measures,” says Dr Jessica Hutchings, head of prevention at RMA. “The programme is a collaboration with our employer groups in the metals industry and aims to minimise accidents and the severity of injuries at the workplace by focusing on health and safety, including embedding the financial wellness for employees. We believe that preventing accidents, incidents, and working conditions that contribute to injuries or diseases has positive implications for business.”

Hutchings provides expert insights into some of the financial and legal ramifications of poor OHS practices for business.

Cost of unsafe working conditions/environments

As a result of injuries sustained due to unsafe working conditions or unsafe workplaces, employees may need to take time off in order to recover. This, by implication, requires the business to hire temporary employees or – in severe cases where employees are unable to return to work – recruit new employees. 

On their return to work, an injured employee might have restricted movement, possibly as per a doctor’s instructions. This may require additional recruits or contractors who need training and onboarding processes. All of this comes at a cost.

The addition of medical aid costs

While there is a distinction between medical aid coverage and health insurance, workplace injuries can affect both. The two systems cover costs and payouts differently, so injuries in the workplace will cost more not only from an insurance perspective, but also in terms of medical bills.

Unsafe work practices and working conditions may also have a direct impact on the quality of products.Because affected employees may be absent during their rehabilitation, there is a threat of quality beingcompromised by a decline in a very important resource – human capital. As resources become less available or stretched beyond their capabilities, lower quality might follow. Should clients receive unsatisfactory goods or services as a result, their buying power may shift away from the business, potentially compromising sales.

Higher incident rates imply higher insurance premiums

An insurer will charge a higher premium when the risk of accident, loss, theft, or catastrophe is greater. A high incident or accident rate as a result of poor OHS measures can therefore contribute to the cost of insurance, with a consequent financial cost implication for the business.

A threat to compliance and industry barring

Non-adherence is punishable by law and, as a business, a finding for non-adherence will compromise your industry reputation and future business engagements and prospects.

It is important to implement preventative measures and reduce the risk of injuries in the workplace. Employers should realise the importance of efficiently implemented health and safety practices. In short, compliance with workplace safety regulations is essential to the financial, legal, and reputational health of a business.

“The RMA prevention programme partners with key stakeholders in the occupational health and safety industry, ensuring that we meet the requirements of the COID Act. It is available, free of charge, to all members in the metals class, as a value-added offering to organisations and employees,” says Hutchings.

For more information, contact the RMA on or visit

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SHEQ Management

SHEQ MANAGEMENT is the definitive source for reliable, accurate and pertinent information to guarantee environmental health and safety in the workplace.
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