Accidents in the workplace can have a huge impact on any business, as they can cause loss of productivity, reduction of sales, low staff morale, loss of reputation – and at worst – closure.
If any worker suffers an injury during their employment, they are entitled to workers’ compensation. Accidents are always recorded at the workplace for insurance purposes – therefore it’s the responsibility of the business to make sure that all its employees understand their rights due to a workplace accident.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers must report all events, such as dangerous incidents that could have caused death or injury. Under the act, every business must take ‘reasonable steps to prevent a serious incident in the workplace.’
The Iceberg effect
After an accident at work, employers tend to look at the immediate cause and try to ensure that this aspect of the business is sorted, leaving the work operations to continue to run smoothly. More businesses should look deeper into the root causes – taking into account the impact of the accident, and all preventable costs.
A common misconception is that all workplace accidents – and costs – are recoverable through insurance. This is often assumed and is not the case. The costs that are incurred through ill-health, accidents and deaths at work are often referred to as the ‘iceberg effect’: visible costs that are recoverable; yet there are costs hidden below the waterline that are unrecoverable. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) estimates that these costs can be up to 10 times greater than the insured costs.
There are costs that directors, managers and owners immediately take into account. These are generally loss of staff and cost to repair vehicles and/or industrial machinery. But the less obvious and often unrecoverable costs are:
- Lost production time
- Sick pay
- Extra wages, overtime working and temporary labour
- Lost time
- Loss of product
- Investigation time
- FFI or prosecution fines
- Loss of contracts and damage to reputation
- Legal costs *
And where do these hidden costs come out of? Usually company profit. If these accidents increase, so will the company’s insurance premiums. It goes without saying that needless accidents cost businesses money and, in turn, reduce profitability.
Scale of cost
The cost can be vast. In the UK alone, the cost associated with workplace accidents is £4.9bn per year. The average cost of an accident ranges from £1.6m per fatality, to £7,500 per non-fatal injury. These are figures that can damage, even devastate a business, whatever its size. They indicate and highlight the very need for health and safety best practice that greatly reduces the likelihood of accidents occurring in the workplace.**
Angela Southall, Director of Southalls, one of the UK’s fastest-growing health and safety consultancies, advises:
“Keep your bottom line buoyant by effective investment in accident prevention. Review your accident statistics and speak to the boots on the ground to see how and where it’s best to invest.”
So how can you invest in accident prevention?
There are simple rules to preventing accidents in the workplace. The main solutions are:
- Be alert
- Work steadily
- Wear required PPE (protective equipment)
- Follow instructions
- Follow emergency instructions
- Hold proper training
How can you ensure you invest in preventing accidents in the workplace with ONE solution?
We can help. ZoneSafe, people and asset protection specialists, offers accident protection with its range of proximity warning and alert systems. Using innovative identification and detection technologies, ZoneSafe significantly reduces the risk of accidents, injury and damage to people and assets on work sites.
To find out more, visit www.zonesafe.net
** facts courtesy of HSE (Health and Safety Executive) cited in www.hsmsearch.com