Spelling out the bottom line

Fortunately, most work-related health and safety incidents are on a small
scale, and do not result in serious injury to the individuals involved. The
corollary of this, of course, is that many firms fail to put enough emphasis on
health and safety issues, believing that, because nothing serious has gone
wrong so far, they are immune to the effects of accidents and work-related
ill-health.

As health and safety professionals, it is our duty to point out that an
accident is any incident which has a risk of harm and which damages property,
equipment and materials. A more detailed examination of sickness absence and
staff welfare is almost certain to highlight a number of occupational health
issues that are having an adverse effect on productivity.

We must also remind our employers that insurance policies do not cover all
of the costs of accidents and ill health. Insurance may pay for large compensation
claims for disabling injuries or serious damage to property and vehicles. But
many of the costs are not insured because they are either not covered by the
policy or the insurance excess is greater than the individual amounts
concerned.

The most successful businesses view losses from accidents and ill-health in
the same way as they view any other types of loss; that is, they analyse how
much they are costing the business, and try to find ways to eliminate them.
Health and safety professionals have a crucial part to play in this, by
persuading our employers/clients to seek the benefits which can flow from
proper investment in OSH excellence.

Only by spelling out the cost of health and safety failure in pounds,
shillings and pence can we begin to make progress in those organisations where
health and safety is not already a high priority.

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