In the UK, there are more than one million injuries to workers annually and more than two million cases of ill health caused or made worse by work. When it comes to investing in health and safety, it is not just a case of doing the right thing; it is underpinned by a very strong business case. Furthermore, although it might seem wholly counter-intuitive, that case is even stronger when times are tough than it is at other times. The reason is very simple: accidents and ill health caused by work impose massive costs on business.
Effective safety leadership is known to be financially beneficial to a company’s bottom-line performance. Effective safety leadership positively affects employees’ safety behaviour and attitudes, helps reduce injury rates and insurance premiums, and contributes to increased productivity by eliminating production bottlenecks. Safety leadership is widely recognised to be critical, especially when the prevailing safety culture is weak, whilst ineffective safety leadership hinders the ability of many companies to achieve success.
Millions of work days are lost each year due to non-fatal injuries in the warehouse environment, and most of these injuries can be prevented. Sips and trips account for a third of the major injuries and a fifth of the injuries associated with absences of greater than three days. Focusing on developing a safety culture can underpin a reduction in absences due to work-related ill-health. This in turn will increase overall productivity levels and have a positive effect on the well-being of the workforce.
Around 1000 electrical accidents at work are reported to the HSE each year and about 25 people die of their injuries. Most electrical accidents occur because people are working on or near equipment that is thought to be dead, or known to be live but those involved do not have adequate training or appropriate equipment, or they have not taken adequate precautions. During an electrical arc, the associated risks are burn injury through arc radiation energy or molten metal splashes, noise and pressure injury through shock wave and inhalation injury.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for 67% of employment in the European economy, but also for 82% of occupational injuries. Research has shown that once SMEs understand the relationship between occupational safety and health and productivity, they are then able to see the link between it and economic performance. There are convincing case studies that show the link between effective occupational safety and health and enhanced business performance.
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Main image: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
Contains information published by EU_OSHA: Copyright 1998-2016 European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.
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