24/04/2002

HSC launch sickness 'ready reckoner' website

The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has launched a 'ready reckoner' for Britain's businesses to help them work out how much work-related accidents and ill-health are costing them.

The launch, which was announced at the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference in London, aims to rectify the current health and safety failures which cost Britain's employers up to a staggering £6.5 billion every year.

Over 25 million working days are also lost annually, with over a million workers suffering from work-related accidents and even more falling prey to work-related ill-health.

The reckoner explains the associated costs of accidents and ill health at work, helps users to work out how much their own firm might be losing, and provides advice on how to avoid such costs. It also includes real-life case studies showing costs to firms that have suffered financially as a result of poor health and safety performance.

Bill Callaghan, Chair of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC), said: "Poor health and safety performance is a competitiveness issue and employers who want business success cannot afford to ignore it. Work-related accidents and ill-health are costing Britain's bosses billions every year, and yet there are still too many who don't even realise how much their own firms are suffering.

"Not all of these costs are immediately apparent, which encourages ignorance and helps to create a culture of complacency. Also, many employers mistakenly believe that their insurance will cover the tab, but many policies will not cover losses such as reduced production, replacement labour and legal fees. The ready reckoner highlights the many factors that can send the bill rocketing - and gives sound advice to those who want to prevent it doing so."

The ready reckoner website has been designed to be a mine of information on the costs of work-related accidents and ill health. As well as providing further information on the subject, it has: interactive calculators to help organisations better estimate the costs of injuries and ill health; an interactive form to record the costs of incidents; case study material illustrating the economic and business impact of accidents and ill health; and a facility for users to send information to HSE for inclusion on the website.

The ready reckoner is particularly designed to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and comes in the form of a free leaflet and as an interactive website at www.hse.gov.uk/costs

(MB)

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