Around 70,000 employees suffer an injury in the workplace each year, according to RIDDOR reports from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The 2015/16 reports show that although the number of injuries has gradually declined over the last five years, work-related accidents and illness cost businesses in the UK around £14.9 billion per year and result in a loss of 31.2 million working days.
Also, the penalties for breaching health and safety legislation have become tougher, and companies found guilty of a breach face hefty fines from the HSE or up to two years imprisonment. Since the introduction of new sentencing guidelines on 1st February 2016, the value of fines collected has increased by 80%, jumping from £38.8 million in 2015/16 to £69.9 million in 2016/17.
Richard Powell at YouClaim said: “For some companies, fines issued for breaches in health and safety could be the difference between staying in business or facing bankruptcy. Although these penalties may seem tough, they are in place to urge companies to assess their current health and safety procedures and commit to further improving standards.”
To help raise awareness of accidents in the workplace, YouClaim has created a visual guide on the risks that many companies are missing, which is increasing the likelihood of an incident.
Mr Powell said: “Without regular checks, a seemingly safe workplace can hide serious health and safety risks likely to cause harm to employees, visitors or members of the public. In reality, it may be impractical to prevent every imaginable hazard, but no one wants to think that they could have done more if an accident was to take place.”
Research carried out by YouClaim into the HSE’s survey of managing health and safety in the workplace highlighted that a quarter of businesses see the complexity of legal obligations as a major difficulty to addressing issues. Related to this, 17% of organisations see the required paperwork as a difficulty, while lack of resource - either staff or time (19%), money (15%) or expertise/specialist support (10%) - is another problem.
Mr Powell said: “Competency is the most vital skill to managing health and safety in the workplace, and every level of an organisation should be involved. Training directors, line managers and workers to be more aware of risks and understand what action needs to be taken when a hazard rises will help to promote a safe and healthy workplace.”