Workplace injuries hit 10-year low

The number of work-related injuries occurring in the UK has reached its lowest in a decade, according to a survey carried out by personal injury specialist YouClaim.

Workplace-related injuries have decreased over the last 10 years, with fatal and non-fatal injuries down by 45% and 51% respectively. This has resulted in a 12% reduction in the cost to employers from £3.322 billion in 2005/06 to £2.928 billion in 2016/17 and a 9% reduction in days lost due to injury from 6.057 million in 2006/07 to 5.532 million in 2016/17.

Richard Powell at YouClaim said: “The fall in workplace injuries over the last decade is attributed to the efforts employers have put in to improving health and safety in the workplace. These reductions will have had a significant impact on many organisation’s bottom line, increasing their revenues year on year.”

However, HSE reports indicate that over the last three years, days lost due to injury have increased by 36% from 4.436 million in 2013/14 to 5.532 million in 2016/17. While the value of fines collected since the introduction of new sentencing guidelines on 1st February 2016 has increased by 80%, from £38.8 million in 2015/16 to £69.9 million in 2016/17.

Powell said: “Many organisations do now know the exact cost of accidents in the workplace. Few businesses bother to examine costs when investigating an incident, assuming that losses are recoverable through their insurance. However, uninsured costs are estimated to cost 10 times that of insurance premiums, according to the HSE, which can have a detrimental effect on a business.”

Uninsured and unrecoverable costs include sick pay, plant and equipment repairs, delays in production, damage to workforce morale, and loss of business reputation, leading to a lack of new investment and repeat business.

Powell said: “When it comes to improving health and safety in a workplace, it’s a team effort. Directors, line managers and workers need to be aware of risks and understand what action needs to be taken when a hazard rises.

“Employers and employees are urged to ensure they are doing everything they can to reduce the risk of accidents in the workplace so we do not see a U-turn on all the work achieved over the last decade. In reality, it may be impractical to prevent every imaginable hazard, but no one wants to think that they could have done more if an accident were to occur.”