Sink or swim? How British businesses see health and safety in a tough economic climate

BRITISH businesses are losing their competitive edge because of a failure to
tackle the risks of injury and illness in the workplace, the UK's leading
professional health and safety body warned.

A survey, published by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health
(IOSH), reveals employers are underestimating the economic benefits of worker
protection and are placing it low on their list of priorities.

Work-related accidents and ill health cost businesses nearly illion a year,
with absenteeism, low productivity and legal bills among the financial hits
faced by bosses. The overall cost of health and safety failures to the British
economy, including welfare and health bills, is estimated at a staggering

In a new campaign, Life Savings, IOSH will aim to set the record straight on
occupational safety and health. Rather than a burden on business, good,
proportionate health and safety is being used by forward-thinking CEOs and
managing directors as a driver for growth, says the Institution.

IOSH unearthed examples of employers saving millions of pounds through the
introduction of occupational safety and health programmes. Now, the chartered
body wants the Government to showcase their good practice to demonstrate how
managing health and safety can dramatically cut costs.

It also wants Ministers to make sure that their austerity measures, and blitz
on red tape, do not damage people's health or lead to accidents.

And the Institution is calling on the Government to reverse the decision to axe
the Health and Safety Executive's advice line move IOSH says could deprive
small businesses of vital free support.

IOSH President Steve Granger said: "Businesses are missing a trick with health
and safety. When you operate in a global marketplace, and you're trying to claw
your way out of recession, a happy, healthy workforce is a driver for growth.

"It's frankly wrong for Ministers and business leaders to talk about health and
safety as 'red taped a burden on business. When done properly and
proportionately, health and safety is essential to a business's long-term
prospects for survival in what are difficult times for our economy.

"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.

More information - Source: Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)