Workplace injuries and illnesses can have dire consequences for employees, businesses and the economy as a whole. Illnesses and injuries cost the UK economy a huge amount of money every year, but there are things businesses and their staff can do to keep them to a minimum. Recent figures say that work-related illnesses and injuries cost the economy a stunning £14.2 billion in 2012/13. The money could have been used to host the 2012 Olympics all over again and build Tottenham Hostpur’s new stadium ten times, with £1 billion in change being left over.
Look at the figures
In 2013/14, 1.2 million people suffered from workplace injuries and illnesses. 2,538 people died from mesothelioma in 2013 because of past exposure to asbestos. In 2014/15, 142 people were killed at work. Days lost to injury and illness lead to a huge amount of lost revenue, which puts small or growing businesses at a significant risk, especially those who employ permanent staff they need to compensate with sick pay. The effect of illnesses and injuries on the economy and businesses means it’s vital that companies do all they can to keep them to a minimum. In 2013/14, 28.2 million days were lost to injury and illness. Let’s explore some things businesses can do to reduce illness and injury-related losses.
Keep staff safe
Companies can reduce the amount of working days lost to illnesses and injuries by making work environments as safe as possible. This can be achieved by making sure equipment is maintained and checked regularly, whilst removing hazards as quickly as possible is also a good move. If a team member reports a contagious illness, tell them to go home until they feel better to avoid the illness spreading throughout your workforce. This applies to companies from a huge series of industries.
Educate your staff
Investing in training can help you cut down on losses. If staff know how to use equipment in the right way and are fully informed about Health and Safety etiquette, the chances of accidents occurring can be greatly reduced. Why not ask for help from outside? There are many companies that can visit your staff to educate them about Health and Safety. Injuries don’t just occur in industrial settings – even people who work in offices can suffer from them. For instance, a typist could develop repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel syndrome. Ensure your staff get the chance to take breaks in order to stay refreshed, focussed on their work and free from injuries, especially if they have to do work of a repetitive nature. Keeping your work environment as safe as possible will also help you avoid having legal action taken against you.
Are hazards present in your workplace?
Slips, trips and falls are common reasons for companies having legal action taken against them, so do everything you can to keep hazards to a minimum. Make sure your staff put equipment away when they are not using it and keep the workplace as clutter-free as you can. Overexertion can cause illness and injury, so make sure staff get breaks when they need them and only ask them to work extra hours if you feel they are capable of fulfilling them without coming to harm. In industrial settings, always make sure your staff have access to the right safety equipment such as harnesses, safety boots and hard hats. Make sure they never work below heavy machinery whilst in it in use.
As with many things, knowledge is power and knowledge will help keep you and other protected and safe.