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Health And Safety At Work In The Uk: The Real Cost For Businesses
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Health And Safety at Work In the Uk: The Real Cost for Businesses

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released some statistics for 2011-12, which stated that around 27million working days were lost due to workplace injury and work-related illness. It also went on to say that there were 173 fatalities and 111,000 injuries at work.

In 2010-11 injuries and ill health (not including cancer), which could be related to work, cost around £13.4 billion to society in the UK.

Shattered Lives

In 2010 HSE launched a campaign called Shattered Lives in order to cut down on the loss of life and money, however, it seems that the costs have increased exponentially instead.

Let’s take a closer look at some facts mentioned in the report to figure out the factors involved.

  • In Agriculture and Construction sectors, the costs are higher per worker.
  • Ill health costs for almost 60% whereas injuries and fatalities add up to the rest.

  • The largest single cost is the non-financial value given to pain, grief and suffering.
  • 60% costs are born by individuals, followed by employers and Government who bear 20% each.

    Both Agriculture and Construction sectors employ a lot of manual labor. The work is tiring and often leads to negligence or fatigue, which accounts for the accidents.

Who Pays?

It’s hard to point a finger, but the stats indicate that since the majority of costs are borne by individuals themselves, and not the employers, it may be a reason in apathy on the part of employers.

The economic crisis we have faced recently has led to an increase in the numbers of minimum wage staff as companies are now working with skeleton crews. Minimum wage workers are filling in for regular staff and this means that the newbies, even with their training, are short on the actual on the job experience.

What the HSE says and what YOU can do

HSE may recover its costs from you by charging a fee for the time it spends investigating, helping you to put the matter right and taking enforcement action,’ is what the HSE states if you break the H&S laws as an employer. It costs £124 per hour for an inspector to look into the material breach.

If you as an employer want to cut down on the costs incurred through liabilities, fines and loss of workdays, etc.; you should:

1- Provide relevant training to your workforce according to the work they would be doing.

2- Invest in your new staff by providing them with specific training tailored to their needs instead of thinking of them as disposables to cut down on costs.

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