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The Hidden Consequences Of Poor Workplace Health And Safety
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Protecting the safety of employees is about far more than just avoiding accident at work compensation claims - industrial illnesses and injuries can actually spell the end of a business altogether.
According to the recent Scottish Widows Business Protection Report, 55% of companies said they would cease trading if one or more key members of staff were lost to long-term incapacity, illness or death. Furthermore, 77% of respondents said that they have at least one employee whose loss through incapacity, illness or death would seriously affect their company's survival or profitability.
Almost 75% of respondents to the poll were the partner, founder or owner of the company, with Scottish Widows pointing out that such small teams are predominant within the micro business demographic. Losing a member of staff can cause immense damage to such micro businesses, preventing them from maintaining continuity of business or operating at all.
However, the research also indicated that such businesses may be taking their health and safety obligations seriously and are taking steps to prevent accident at work compensation claims, as the companies polled said they thought the risk of losing a key member of staff was not particularly high. Nonetheless, 14% of businesses said they had been affected by the loss of a worker, with 55% of these saying the loss of expertise affected them and 44% experiencing a fall in revenue as a result of this loss.
Personal injury solicitors stress the importance of health and safety
Despite the fact that businesses recognised the importance of their employees and the problems they could experience following an industrial illness or accident at work, many businesses do not see protecting employee's health and safety or preparing for the worst as their key priority. Instead, 68% of respondents said their top priority was delivering on any promises and commitments they had made to customers. Retaining staff was a top priority for just 14%, while insuring against the loss of a key person due to injury or illness was a top priority for only 4%.
The loss of an employee can be far more serious than just an accident at work compensation claim -personal injury solicitors have seen businesses struggle to survive following industrial illness claims or accident at work claims. The death, illness or incapacity of a worker can also damage a business' reputation, impact worker morale, cause a depressing effect on other members of staff, affect staff retention, and make it harder for businesses to maintain relationships with clients and customers. A good health and safety record could make all the difference between a company winning and losing a tender bid.
The Health and Safety Executive has estimated that the ratio between uninsured and insured costs following an accident at work is between 1:8 and 1:36, indicating that for every £100 a company recovers from its insurers, the company could lose as much a £3,600. Overall, industrial illnesses and workplace accidents cost the economy approximately £30 billion every year, with around two million cases of ill health and one million personal injuries caused by unsafe working environments annually.
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