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Written by
on 12 December 2014


Last year, the HSE enforced 10,119 notices in England and Wales. The average penalty charged? £15,153.

And the total cost of injuries and ill health across the UK – an estimated £14.2 billion.

But health and safety failure has more than just a financial price.

For instance, just how much time do we lose across the UK due to workplace illness and injury?

Last year’s grand total? A whopping 28.2 million days.

And the cost of failure can be even more serious. There are over 13,000 deaths each year are due to lung diseases – as the result of long term workplace exposure to chemicals or dust.

There are also over 8,000 deaths attributed to occupational cancers each year.

And the legacy of asbestos exposure continues to haunt people – with 2,535 deaths attributed to mesothelioma in 2012.

Accidents and injuries in the workplace are one of those things we never expect to happen. We hope they never do.

But one mistake is all it takes to tar a perfectly good track record. That mistake can turn out to be pretty costly – so taking the right steps early on can make a big difference for your business.

Time taken off work:

Every week, over a million people need to take time off work. But according to the HSE, one in five of these will end up staying sick in the long term.

Losing days off work doesn’t just have a financial impact on a business. As well as losing valuable time, it can really affect the self-esteem and well-being of individuals, making it harder for them to return to work.

To prevent this, here’s what you can do:

  • carry out proper risk assessments to identify factors that can affect health
  • make sure everyone understands the practical health and safety measures you put in place
  • work with people to make any adjustments that might be needed, to deal with any health difficulties
  • you might need to make changes to the premises, working arrangements or the role being carrying out

Workplace fatalities:

Workplace fatalities don’t just include the occasional headline-making tragedies from unfortunate accidents.

Sadly, they’re much more common – most deaths result from long-term illnesses and diseases, from exposure to harmful substances, stress and fatigue.

But the good news is that simple steps can help to cut down the risk of fatalities in the first place.

  • shift work has a growing link to breast cancer development, because of long-term fatigue and sleep disturbance.
  • While shift work may be necessary, you can still work with employees to design a schedule with a healthier pattern, and is less likely to cause fatigue
  • Carry out regular checks to measure emission levels around the workplace and provide adequate protective equipment

None of us want to be one of those shocking health and safety statistics. But by taking care of your health and paying attention to everyday factors, you could save yourself a bundle by preventing more serious problems from ever coming up.

A chartered (fellow) safety and risk management practitioner with 20+ years of experience. David provides a healthy dose of how-to articles, advice and guidance to make compliance easier for construction professionals, Architects and the built environment. Get social with David on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

One Comment
  • Is there any information available anywhere on the cost of caring for employees prone to addiction (alcohol, medication or drugs)?
    Do you know of standard measure takes or services used?

    Kind regards

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