Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Safety lapses costing UK businesses £22bn a year

July 2011

British businesses are ‘losing their competitive edge’ due to health and safety failures.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the UK’s professional health and safety body, makes the point in a new survey of business leaders, which it says reveals that employers are underestimating the financial benefits of worker protection.

The IOSH says health and safety is placed too low on businesses’ list of priorities.

When asked what companies should invest in to improve their prospects, respondents placed health and safety next to last overall, far below the areas deemed most important, such as planning and budget control.

Work-related accidents and ill health are estimated to cost businesses about £8billion ($12.9bn, €9.1bn) a year through their resulting absenteeism, productivity impacts and legal bills. The signs, however, are that businesses are substantially underestimating this financial impact. The overall cost of health and safety failures to the British economy is put at £22bn, a figure of which only seven per cent of respondents were aware, while a third underestimated the costs 100-fold or more.

The IOSH has urged the government to intervene, recommending that it show businesses how managing health and safety can cut costs and remove tax disincentives for employers offering work-based therapies to help to get people back to work more quickly.

Institution of Occupational Safety and Health | UK & NI Ireland | Health and safety

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