An accident's economic costs are far greater than most contractors realize. The reason is that many accident costs are hard to recognize or given little thought. However, like the underwater part of an iceberg, they loom large and dangerous.

When employers add up accident costs, they usually include only direct costs, such as clinic and hospital expenses, medical insurance, and workers' compensation payments. The total cost of an accident, however, is far greater. Indirect, or hidden, costs typically are four times an accident's direct costs.