Health and Safety – Making the Business Case

It's not very often the SG World Sales team come up against a Health and Safety manager who  simply isn’t interested in our range of products. The more usual scenario is that the spend needs to be justified internally against a lot of competing demands on the company budget.


In these circumstances additional health and safety investment can be relegated to ‘nice to have’ rather than ‘must have’.

Intuitively we all know that accidents cost business through lost productivity or increased insurance premiums but this notion can seem somewhat vague. It’s very useful to actually try and attribute some real figures to the risk of an accident happening to put the investment in safety into context. The HSE undertook some detailed research a few years ago that found for every £1 of direct costs you can associate with an accident there are between £8 and £36 of indirect costs. HSE research also reveals the average number of days taken off per person, per injury, per annum is 8.1.

Let’s take the example of a firm that has identified an unsatisfactory trend of forklift truck accidents which could be prevented with a pre-inspection routine. Typically an annual supply of SG World’s forklift truck pre-inspection system costs £298. The hourly salary of a FLT operator is about £9.50 and a firm could reasonably expect to lose 10 days p.a on preventable accidents and additional downtime avoided by a regular pre-inspection routine, this is your direct cost.  Multiply that figure by anything between 8 and 36 (20 is probably best as it is more or less the mid-point) to take into account of the hidden costs associated with the accidents and we’re looking at over £15K. Suddenly the initial outlay on a pre-inspection system doesn’t seem as expensive and this is if we confine ourselves to purely financial losses – you can’t begin to quantify the personal cost of a serious accident.

“We appreciate when budgets are tight it’s tempting to not invest in precautionary health and safety measures so it’s important to appreciate the bigger picture.” said Dan Lister, SG World Business Development Manager. “Attributing some basic cost estimates to the accidents you can prevent can help both SG World and the H&S professional reach the same outcome. In this sense we are both very much on the same side.”


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