The Real Cost of Poor Site Safety

Good health and safety practice and procedure is part and parcel of running a successful business in the construction and building sector.

To understand the significance of good site safety, it’s often easier to consider the potential consequences of poor site safety – or what can happen if things go wrong. The list is long.

Injuries to employees, contractors, or site visitors, disruption to the workforce, prosecutions by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), enforcement and financial penalties, the risk of imprisonment, legal costs, and of course, damage to the business’s reputation are just the tip of the iceberg of potential consequences arising from avoidable accidents, or from failing to maintain good site safety.

To get a real feel for the significance of site safety, the HSE’s health and safety at work statistics speak for themselves.

  • 144 fatal injuries to workers in 2015/16
  • 0.6 million non-fatal injuries to workers in 2015/16
  • 30.4 million working days lost due to work-related illness and non-fatal workplace injuries in 2015/6
  • 11,403 notices issues by all enforcing bodies in 2015/16
  • £4.8 billion was the annual cost of workplace injury to business in Britain in 2014/15

When it comes to the impact on individuals, case studies from the HSE tell the personal stories of the devastating effects that accidents at work have on those involved, their work, their family and social life.

The business case for good site safety

And then there are the hidden business costs – increases in insurance premiums and more significantly, the risk posed by the cost of uninsured losses.

A report by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) considers the business case for good site safety – especially in difficult economic times, pointing out that, “The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has estimated that the ratio between insured and uninsured costs arising from accidents lies in the range of 1:8 to 1:36. So in the worst case, for every £100 recovered from the insurer, the business loses about £3,600.”

With figures like that, it’s easy to see the crippling effect that poor site safety can have on businesses, and how for some firms it could mean the end of business entirely.

Uninsured costs can include:

  • Sick pay
  • Lost time
  • Damage or loss of product and raw materials
  • Repairs to plant and equipment
  • Overtime working and temporary labour
  • Production delays
  • Insurance investigation time
  • Fines
  • Loss of contracts
  • Legal costs
  • Loss of business reputation.

Plus, the potential impact of an accident years down the line. Internet searches 5, 10, 15 or 20 years or more from the date of an accident may still link the company with the incident, thanks to court proceedings and prosecution information published on the web. That could mean loss of future custom or failed tenders.

It’s easy to see how the costs and implications of poor site safety can rack up.

How to reduce workplace accidents and limit business costs

Of course, the best way to avoid exposure to any such financial consequence is to reduce the risk of accidents happening in the first place.

For this, site safety needs to be rigorously maintained. Even for businesses with excellent site safety records, some extra time and investment spent on limiting the risk of accidents is likely to be money well spent.

Whilst health and safety law and procedure can appear overwhelming, there are ways to make things less complicated and less time consuming.

The HSE has created a ‘Health and Safety Made Simple’ website to support businesses with basic health and safety guidance. With simple steps and ‘Stop check!’ boxes to highlight when extra steps may be required, and signposts to more detailed guidance and industry-specific advice, the site is purpose-built to help businesses comply with health and safety law.

For a hands-on approach that’s tailor made to your own business, professional advice from construction industry specialists such as Bull can help ensure that appropriate systems and equipment are in place to prevent or minimise the impact of accidents at work.

Specialist advice from the industry experts

At Bull we supply the building and construction industry with specialist equipment and expert safety advice on fire safety, as well as work from height safety equipment including our British Standard PAS 59 compliant Impact-Bull® fall arrest system.

We are always happy to discuss the options available and how our products and services can help meet the needs of individual businesses, as well as identify where alternative specialist support may be beneficial.

For more information and advice about our fall arrest system, Impact-Bull®, or building site fire protection equipment, fire alarms, and other safety products for the construction industry, talk to one of our team of knowledgeable and friendly advisors on 01432 806806 / enquiries@bullproducts.co.uk.


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