Counting the Cost of Health and Safety for Small Business

Risk assessment prevents accidents

Being witness to the aftermath of an accident, as I was, can be harrowing, but imagine the stress and anxiety felt by the poor person involved in the accident as well as the person who caused it.

One Tuesday morning many years ago as a logistics Manager, I was sat at my desk when I heard screaming and shouting on the corridors.   I went to my door to see what had happened and couldn’t believe my eyes.  One employee, panic stricken, was racing down the corridor while another was behind him, holding his hand in the air, dripping blood.  The poor man had been removing spent material from a machine during a set up and his fingers had been cut off as the machine was switched on inadvertently.

In the aftermath, there were many errors in systems and contravention of regulations, unearthed by the welcomed visit of the HSE.   But what are the real costs of an accident to a business.

The individual, the human cost.

  • Stress, pain and anxiety caused by the accident.

People suffering accidents, particularly as serious as this have a long road to recovery.  The person suffering the loss of limbs had serious pain and trauma to deal with and not only that, subsequent operations to his fingers to make the remaining limbs function in as comfortable a position as possible.

  • Loss of earnings.

How will the persons livelihood be affected, if they cannot operate a machine like they did prior to the accident. Will they be able to carry out any other role at your workplace and will that be the same level of remuneration.  In fact, will they ever be able to work again?

The employer the financial cost

Direct Costs attributable to accidents

  1. Wages for the worker during the period of recovery
  2. Increase in Employers Liability Insurance
  3. Fines and court costs
  4. Legal expenses

Indirect costs attributable to accidents

  1. Loss of production due to the skilled worker being absent
  2. Overtime costs to cover lost production
  3. Wages for a replacement worker
  4. Loss of production during accident investigation

Only some of these costs are likely to be recoverable from insurance, in terms of claims from employers and public liability insurance in the form of damage to buildings, equipment or vehicles.

An interesting article from the Health and Safety Commission details an actual case of a small engineering company with 15 people.  An employer had his arm entangled in a drilling machine, he had extensive surgery and was off work for 3 months.  On returning to work he was on light administrative duties for five months and was unable to operate machinery for 8 months.

The Managing Director was prosecuted and the total financial cost to the business was £45,000.

How can you reduce the risk of accidents and these unforeseen costs?

The simple introduction of a Health and Safety Policy with a process of risk assessment can identify the potential for accidents in the work place.

Planned control measures can be identified to reduce the hazards potential and implemented to reduce the risk of accidents occurring.

At KIS Safety we have over 20 years of working in a manufacturing environment and working with associated hazards and 12 years of experience working with a multitude of industries from construction trades, transport, warehousing, fabrication, printing, property and charitable organisations.

Why not contact us for a free evaluation of your exposure to risk in the workplace.

After all, can your business find £45,000 in the event of a serious accident?

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