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Firms ‘underestimating health risks’

Firms ‘underestimating health risks’
1 June 2011

Businesses are losing their competitive edge because of a failure to tackle injury and illness in the workplace, a study has warned.

A survey of more than 850 businesses by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) found many are underestimating the cost of work-related accidents and ill health, which HSE figures show cost UK businesses nearly £8bn a year combined, with absenteeism, low productivity and legal bills among the financial hits faced by bosses.

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The HSE estimates the overall cost of health and safety failings to the British economy is £22bn, including welfare and health bills, but only 7% of those surveyed guessed this figure correctly. A third underestimated the costs 100-fold, putting the figure at just £220m.

Four in 10 businesses said that health and safety was a top-three priority for them in preparing for the economic upturn. IOSH said that this figure was encouraging but that many businesses are still “missing a trick”.

IOSH president Steve Granger said: “As well as the primary aim of saving people’s lives and livelihoods, good occupational health and safety can also deliver vital cost savings and help your business to grow.”

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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