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DWF 3Sixty Blog

Health and safety by numbers

Posted by Gemma Nightingale on Dec 14, 2016 12:43:38 PM

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Health and safety has a massive impact on enterprise in the UK.  It affects the bottom lines of companies and the personal lives of workers, physically, financially and emotionally.  But how many are affected?  What are the numbers behind the common sense requirement to be kept safe at work?...

Like many things, it is sometimes hard to see the big picture.  Particularly for those involved in the minutiae of the health & safety process.  For example, the office staff sitting through an induction programme, or the machinist waiting for a faulty guard to be replaced, may be frustrated by details and delays. Keeping them engaged can be a challenge. 

Yet, those seemingly small things can keep a person safe at work.  Ensuring they don't become part of some quite staggering statistics.

Key health and safety statistics

It is only when you look at the numbers that it becomes apparent just what an impact health and safety at work or, more accurately, the lack of it has in the UK.  It’s not realistic to expect a 100% risk-free environment at work.  But there is clearly more that can, and must, be done.

Let's look at some headline figures taken from official government statistics for 2015/16:

  • 3 million people suffer from a work related illness
  • 144 workers killed at work
  • 621,000 people injured at work

And the cost of these accidents and incidents?

  • 4 million working days lost from work related illnesses
  • £14.1 billion is the estimated cost of injuries and ill health caused by working conditions

 Whichever way you slice it; those are some mind-boggling numbers. 

The real cost of neglecting health and safety

Behind those statistics lie some very real costs.

For an employee comes the trauma, not to mention the pain and distress, of an accident or illness.  

There is also the stress of wondering whether the employer will keep a job open and the financial implications of not being able to work.  Especially if the worker is part-time or a self-employed contractor.

All of which can have a negative impact on staff morale, and a demoralised workforce is an unproductive workforce.

For the employer, there are also some very real consequences. 

Counting the cost

From the statistics above we can see that millions of working days are lost.  Either because of accidents or illnesses arising, in the most part, from poor health and safety.  This, of course, leads to higher costs and pay outs for the employer which could include significantly higher insurance premiums.

The employer may also pay out compensation, wages for absent staff, and there is a massive cost in lost or reduced production.  Staff absence, or production breaks because of accidents, can really eat into a company's turnover. 

There is also the cost of recruiting replacement workers and, the often immeasurable but significant, cost of loss of reputation and bad publicity which can follow an incident.  Especially in these days of ever present social media.

Balancing the numbers 

The key figures we discussed above can be disheartening.  However, there is no reason why your business needs to be part of those depressing statistics.

Implementing and maintaining a rigorous health and safety system will lessen the chance of being part of those stats at the top of the page and will even lead to numerous benefits.  No matter which industry you are in.

Benefits of effective health and safety

Although it is often seen as red tape, especially when production is held up or staff leave their desks for mandatory training, health and safety protects the bottom line of any business.

It does this by:

  • Reducing the risk of accidents in the workplace
  • Reducing costs including sick pay, compensation, and staff recruitment
  • Lessening the chance of legal action by employees or regulatory bodies
  • Enhancing the brand's corporate responsibility status
  • Enhancing the company’s reputation as a responsible employer

Bringing health and safety back under control

Managing health and safety in the workplace is vital for any business.  As we have seen it can have so many benefits that it makes commercial sense to have a robust policy in place.  Not to mention the legal aspect of course, which can bring an otherwise thriving company to its knees.

But, knowing the value of health and safety is one thing.  Managing it effectively and efficiently is another thing altogether. 

Managing health and safety

Fortunately, management software can make the whole process of implementing, maintaining and managing a health and safety system a straightforward process.

Here at 3Sixty Systems we provide world class health and safety management solutions.  Let us know if we can help you in any way.  For advice on how we can help your business call us on 0333 010 7999 or you can book a demo to find out more.


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Topics: Health & Safety, accidents in the workplace, HSE statistics

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