Calculating the costs of workplace injuries

New tool helps Ontario businesses understand the expense of injuries

A new online tool will help Ontario's small businesses calculate the true costs of a workplace injury.

Ontario firms with fewer than 50 employees account for more than 90 per cent of all firms in the province and one half of the province's jobs are located in small businesses. Statistics from Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) also show that the job fatality rates of small businesses are 6.7 times higher than those for larger businesses and lost-time injury rates are 10 per cent higher.

“Many small business employers may be unaware of their legal obligations and the potential benefits of a health and safety program to overall business improvement,” says Michael Abromeit, vice-president of operations, the Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA).

“Health and safety is not simply a legal obligation. It’s an opportunity to strengthen one’s business by reducing injuries, increasing productivity, and improving their health and safety performance.”

When a worker in Ontario is injured on the job, the WSIB pays for costs associated with the injury claim, including health, rehabilitation, and disability costs. However, injuries cost small businesses in many other areas not covered by WSIB insurance. IAPA’s free Small Business Safety Calculator will help businesses identify and quantify these costs, including:

Incident Costs – time to provide first aid; time for transportation to hospital/clinic/home; lost productivity of all affected workers; time to make area safe; cost of first aid supplies and equipment used; cost of ambulance or taxi

Investigation Costs – time to investigate the accident; time spent to complete an accident investigation report; time to complete related paperwork for your company; time taken to report the incident to the WSIB and meet with WSIB officers; follow-up meetings to discuss the accident

Damage Costs – time to assess the damage; time to repair or replace equipment; time to coordinate repair work; clean up time; cost of outside contractors and materials for clean up; cost to dispose of damaged equipment; cost of replacement parts, equipment, or lost product

Replacement Costs – time to hire or relocate replacement worker; relocation or rescheduling of another worker; trainer time for new or relocated worker; trainee time for new or relocated worker; cost to hire a replacement worker

Productivity Costs – lost productivity due to disruption; time spent managing the injury claim; reduced productivity of injured worker after they return to work

While other workplace health and safety calculating tools are available in Great Britain, the United States, and in British Columbia, this is the first time such an option has been available and applicable for small businesses in Ontario. IAPA’s Small Business Safety Calculator is modeled after one created by WorkSafe BC.

With their cooperation, the calculator methodology was reengineered for use in Ontario and specifically for those companies that fall within one of IAPA’s 12 industry groups: Glass, Stone and Ceramics; Chemical and Plastics; Food and Beverage; Agri Business; High-Tech; Industrial Auto Sales; Leather, Rubber, and Tanners; Metal Trades; Office and Related Services; Printing Trades; Textile and Allied Trades; and Woodworking.

The calculator is available online at

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