Health and Safety: the real cost of slips trips and falls for businesses.


The latest statistics released by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) state that in 2011-12, 27 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury. 173 workers were killed and 111,000 were injured at work in 2011-2012.

The latest statistics released by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) state that in 2011-12, 27 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury.

When we look at a year before that, in 2010-11, workplace related injuries and ill health (not including cancer), cost society an estimated £13.4 billion.

This has risen up greatly compared to earlier years as a press release published by the HSE on its website in February 2010 stated that only 40 workers had lost their lives and the cost to the exchequer was (only) £800 million each year.

Shattered Lives

These are the statistics after HSE had earlier launched its Shattered Lives campaign to cut down on the loss of life and money back in 2010. What’s baffling is the fact that instead of going down, the costs seem to have risen exponentially.

So was the money and effort put in the campaign all for nothing or could we attribute these losses to other factors? Let’s evaluate some key facts from the report to figure it out.

  • The costs are highest per worker in Agriculture and Construction sectors.
  • The costs are greater from ill health (almost 60%) than from injuries and fatalities.
  • The largest single cost is the non-financial value given to pain, grief and suffering.
  • The costs are borne approximately 60% by individuals, 20% by employers and 20% by Government.

When we look at these statistics, it’s clear that Agriculture and Construction, are sectors that employ a high number of manual labor workers. The work is strenuous and often leads to negligence or pure fatigue on part of the worker. It suggests that the managers need to be more empathic to their workers, and less forceful in their expectations and approach.

Who pays?

Since the costs are borne mainly by the individuals for work related injuries, could this be a factor? Are employers being negligent, as they are not the ones paying?

The economic downturn that we are still facing has led to an increase in minimum wage staff. Companies are working with skeleton crews and hiring minimum wage workers to fill in for regular staff. What this means is that even though the newbies undergo initial training, when it comes to actual on the job training and methods, they are short on experience.

What the HSE says

The HSE states that if you break health and safety laws as an employer, ‘HSE may recover its costs from you by charging a fee for the time it spends investigating, helping you to put the matter right and taking enforcement action.’ And it costs £124 for each hour that an inspector spends on dealing with the material breach.

What YOU can do

In order to cut down on the costs incurred through fines, liabilities and loss of workdays, the employers need to:

  • provide training to their workforce that is relevant to the work they would be doing
  • invest in their new staff and think of them as part of the real team rather than disposables and run specific training programs that are tailored to their needs.

They can hire expert trainers from training service providers such as Carlton Training to offer their staff specialized training.

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