The most recent HSE estimates put the cost to Great Britain of workplace injuries and new cases of work-related Ill Health at £15bn annually (for 2016/17).
The costs only include self-reported injuries and new cases of ill-health attributable to working conditions. Despite the preponderance of injuries, the new cases of ill-health account for two-thirds of the total cost burden owing to the greater time off work attributable to ill-health.
Pre-existing cases of ill-health are excluded from these HSE figures. Perhaps, more significantly, the impact of presenteeism is excluded too (lower productivity arising from those working but with poor mental health). The 2017 Stevenson / Farmer review of mental health and employers put the overall cost of poor mental health to the UK economy at between £74bn and £99bn per year. Of this, between £33bn and £42bn is born by employers with over half of that coming from presenteeism.
The scale of these costs is simply staggering and there are many, extremely complex, interrelated issues that need addressing to reduce the costs arising from poor mental health.
Further, it’s extremely difficult to disentangle the costs accruing from ‘health’ and those from ‘safety’. What about the near miss or incident that became the cause of poor mental health? What about the health and safety professionals suffering from stress arising from lack of support from their board?
With regard to safety incidents, e-permits can directly reduce the costs arising by preventing avoidable incidents. Doing so averts the consequential costs of failure (management and business downtime, legal fees, fines and reputation damage); as well as delivering productivity gains through reduced time off work. Further, insurance companies have recognised e-permits’ impact on risk by reducing premiums on Public and Employers liability, Property and Commercial insurance policies.
Interestingly a survey of e-permits clients asked about the benefits of using the software and cost/time saving only ranked sixth.
However, those survey results can’t possibly reflect the cost savings attributable to improved control and compliance, for example, or to the improved audit trail capabilities afforded by e-permits in the event of an incident. Indeed, each benefit will have an element of cost reduction attributable to it that is difficult to calculate and which ultimately isn’t reflected in the survey results.
We do support prospective e-permits clients in their financial justification of the software. If you’re interested in learning more about our ROI calculator please contact us using our Contact page.
By way of conclusion, poor mental health together with safety incidents are costing the UK economy significant sums every year – sums that are equivalent to the UK Education budget. At least one-third of that is born by industry. Health and Safety is not a burden on your business, nor on the economy. It has significant business benefits and, as a business ‘function’, is going to contribute significantly to the productivity gains and cost reduction both of your business and of the UK economy as a whole. Be proud of what you do, you’re an enabler not a drag.