Paying attention to health and safety can protect a business’ bottom-line. In the newspapers, there are regularly stories about “Health and Safety Gone Mad,” but in many cases it turns out is not health and safety to blame for the problem in the article, but is due to other factors, such as insurance policies, or overzealous ‘jobsworths’, or workers lying about safety regulations due to laziness or incompetence.

In reality, health and safety should be a benefit for businesses, and not just because it prevents accident at work compensation claims. Occupational cancer costs the UK’s economy £30 billion every year, and workplace accident claims or industrial disease claims are responsible for a huge number of missed working days.

 Prosecutions or enforcement notices can cost businesses a fortune, but investing in health and safety counts for more than just avoiding these expenses. The Health and Safety Executive estimates businesses have to pay out between eight and thirty-six times as much money as insurers following accident at work compensation claims.

Major workplace accident claims can easily spell the end of a business – fires, explosions or the death of workers can be impossible for firms to fully recover from. Employers who lose a member of staff in fatal workplace accidents caused by negligence will undoubtedly experience emotional difficulties, including guilt and anxiety, and this can be very hard to cope with.

 Businesses can spend years building up worker morale, only to have their efforts ruined because of a personal injury leading to an accident at work compensation claim. If workers feel like they are not safe in their employment, they will be unhappy, and if they regularly take time off because of avoidable injuries, or have to continue working while injured, they could become irritated by the negligence they are subjected to.

Strong leadership and positive business management prevents accidents at work

Providing strong leadership on health and safety issues, and integrating them into the rest of a management system, can inspire workers and help to maintain a positive safety culture. Personal injury claims can also be avoided by developing good communication, supporting employees when whistleblowing and enabling people to discuss workplace safety confidently.

Not all businesses are supportive of whisletleblowing – the large-scale construction industry in particular has been found to blacklist whisleblowers, although many medical negligence claims could be somewhat due to a ‘culture of silence’ within the NHS.

However, maintaining strong management and handling whistleblowers in a supportive manner can make all the difference to workplace health and safety and help to avoid accident at work compensation claims.

Health and safety should be a part of every aspect of a company, from human resources, to environment, to management, to personnel development. It is worth considering health and safety throughout a business’ operations – it is not just good for business, it is essential.

Most companies should be able to implement effective health and safety in-house; those that cannot could consider hiring consultancy services to help them.

Hellen Geek has worked alongside professional indemnity insurance firms when deciding the total value of clinical negligence claims and at work compensation. She is passionate about raising standards in hospitals and other healthcare settings, and supporting doctors as well as patients. She lives in Somerset and loves the beautiful fields and farms around her small cottage.