Home >£3billion for your thoughts

£3billion for your thoughts

05 November 2019

With work related accidents and ill-health estimated to be costing UK businesses £3bn a year, Arco looks at the potential cost of safety to your business. How do you calculate your risk and what can you do to mitigate it?

No matter the size of your business or the industry you work in, good health and safety management is critical to the financial health of your business.  Any workplace accident or injury could have a significant impact, with the potential loss of production time, increased insurance premiums, possible fines and compensation payments all contributing to the ‘hidden’ costs of safety. Although there is a general downward trend in accidents and fatal injury rates, the costs to your business have risen and the HSE calculates that work related ill-health and accidents cost UK businesses £3bn a year.  Even this figures is widely considered to be an underestimation of the true costs.

Good health and safety management means meeting your legal obligations by carrying out the proper risk assessments, managing any of the risk identified, providing employees with information, training and PPE as well as making sure that adequate measures are available in case anyone is injured or taken ill at work. In the last two years, new sentencing guidelines have also made it tougher and more costly for managers, directors and UK companies to ignore their health and safety obligations.

In the current economic and political climate, many UK businesses are looking at ways of reducing business risk, whether that’s in their supply chain, future employment needs or in building confidence with and retaining their customers. This kind of atmosphere often leads to detailed spending reviews, with business owners looking at any opportunity to cut costs.  Investment in PPE and other safety services is often under scrutiny  and health and safety compliance is reduced to a box ticking exercise, rather than being seen as a positive investment that could reduce those hidden costs.

Any cost-cutting strategy will inevitably put the emphasis on price at the expense of quality and it’s here where the compromise is made and those ‘hidden costs’ that may result from a poor health and safety culture, or from using substandard or incorrectly specified equipment  are lurking in the background, waiting to make an impact and potentially break a business.  

Workplace accidents could result in a costly investigation, an increase in insurance premiums, the need to reorganise work plans and recruiting and training new staff. Fines are also on the up with the chance of incurring fines of more than £500k 20 times higher since 2014. If you have an incident, the HSE will now charge you £154 per hour to investigate the issue and for every £1 that is recovered through an insurance claim as a result of an incident, £8 is lost entirely.  Leading safety company Arco is working with businesses across the UK to help identify the true cost of safety.  Arco understands the challenges of purchasing safety products and services and managing costs at the same time.  But it’s the overall cost of safety that many businesses haven’t considered and Arco has provided a wealth of information, including a unique, free to use online tool to calculate the potential cost to your business.  Go to: http://www.costofsafety.co.uk to find out more. 

Then there’s the human cost, when things go wrong and when lives depend on it, health and safety should never be a Boardroom box ticking exercise. The best way to establish good health and safety practices is by working with a partner and engaging with every part of the organisation with an integrated approach to safety. This kind of approach doesn’t have to be expensive, but the risk of treating health and safety investment as a ‘must do’ rather than a ‘must have’ could actually put your whole business at risk.