293766207 - Briefing of issues for discussion hsb03 Cost of...

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hsb03 Cost of Safety All of us wish to avoid accidents at work, to avoid the suffering which can result from even quite minor accidents. Most of us also realise that accidents can lead to substantial losses to the organisation for which we work. It sometimes comes as a shock to realise just how much money is lost from causes which are almost entirely avoidable. An accident can be defined as an unplanned event which results in injury or ill health to people, damage or loss to plant, materials, property or the environment, or a loss of business opportunity. The relationship between the number of such accidents leading to various outcomes, is often represented by the so-called accident triangle. Studies have shown that for every accident resulting in absence from work for more than three days, there may typically be ten times as many minor injury accidents, (requiring first aid only) and several hundred non injury accidents, which could for example, involve substantial property damage. Furthermore, the cause of a minor accident may in other circumstances have led to much more serious results. Each such near miss is a ‘free lesson’ which, if learnt, may not only reduce loss but also prevent more serious outcomes. For example, a leak of oil from a machine can cause anything from a minor to a fatal injury, but more frequently will lead to damage to the plant if it is not noticed and rectified in time. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out studies with five organisations in an attempt to calculate the true costs of accidents in the UK. The results were surprising. One organisation - a transport company - found that accidents amounted to 37% of its annual profits. In another example - a construction site - costs amounted to 9.5% of the tender price of the project being undertaken, and in a third organisation, accident losses amounted to 5% of running costs. The HSE believed that a similar picture would emerge for other industries. It was also noted that during the period of the study, there were no fatal injuries, prosecutions or significant civil claims to the participating organisations. Any major occurrence of this kind would, of course, have increased substantially the losses calculated. Nonetheless, it was estimated that nearly 10% of the accidents recorded had the potential for serious consequences such as fatalities, multiple injuries or catastrophic loss. This made the point again, that learning from relatively ‘free lessons’ is of great importance. The HSE have estimated that over 30 million working days are lost due to workplace accidents, and that when all the costs are properly taken into account, the total cost of work accidents and work related ill-health, to society as a whole, is likely to be between 10 and 15 billion pounds sterling a year - equivalent to between 1.75% and 2.75% of the GDP of the UK. 1
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293766207 - Briefing of issues for discussion hsb03 Cost of...

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