Economic cost of poor health and safety

Statistics released recently by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reveal that poor health and safety practices could be placing extra strain on the economy during these harsh financial times. 

Official statistics show that during the period 2007/08 a total of 229 workers were killed at work and 299,000 sustained reportable injuries. The HSE also report that an astonishing 34 million working days were lost through injury and ill health, which equates to 1.4 days per worker.

Estimates suggest that figures like these lead to an outlay of up to £6.5 billion for UK employers every year. These are costs that are most likely not budgeted for and would be difficult for companies to absorb at the best of times, but as the credit crunch tightens its grip on UK industry, non essential expenditure compensating victims and absorbing the costs of lost production should be expenses that all organisations are looking to eliminate. 

Along with the expense to individual companies, lax health and safety policies can potentially impact upon the wider economy, constituting an unnecessary additional strain. NHS treatment of work related injuries and government payouts for sickness and bereavement benefits cost millions of pounds a year, costs that could be significantly reduced by responsible training regimes and a greater commitment by businesses to the wellbeing of their workforce.

Recognising this, the government will introduce tough new laws in January that will see maximum fines for health and safety breaches quadrupled and custodial sentences introduced as an option for a much broader spectrum of transgressions. The Health and Safety (Offences) Act has gained Royal ascent in record time and is set to come into effect on January 16th  2009.

British Red Cross First Aid Training is keen to point out that the investment of providing such essential, life saving training as first aid and committing to a rigorous health and safety policy at work is not just a financial one. Anne McColl, General Manager for British Red Cross First Aid Training explains,

"Ensuring that your employees learn first aid is much more than just complying with your health and safety obligations. Encouraging people to le life saving skills shows your commitment to the employee and also to the well being of the team. The confidence and motivation that it can give to individuals is invaluable both in and out of the working environment."

The Red Cross, who have been providing first aid training for the workplace for over twenty-seven years, believe that the majority of organisations do endeavour to comply with legislation but also feel that the amount of information can be daunting and lead to unintentional omissions in training. Committed to redressing this information gap, the Red Cross provide a range of services to inform businesses of their requirements and help them fulfil their training needs.

Notes to editors                                                                                                                
British Red Cross First Aid Training website can be viewed at

The British Red Cross First Aid Training iBrochure is available at:

Course bookings can be made by calling 0844 871 8000

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

Lydia Mottershead
0161 888 8952

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