The most current health and safety in the workplace figures have recently been released by HSE looking at 2019/2020.
Covering the 12-month period to March 2020, the figures highlight key statistics around ill health, injury, disease and regulatory enforcement activity when it comes to health and safety in the workplace.
Latest Health and Safety in the workplace figures
Headline figures from the HSE report show:
- 6 million working people suffering from a work-related illness
- 111 workers killed at work
- 693,000 working people sustain an injury at work according to the Labour Force Survey
- 65,427 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
- 8 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury
What do the latest Health and Safety in the workplace figures mean for businesses?
Further analysis has been carried out by Weightmans into the data and trends seen over recent years. The summary focuses on highlighting some of the conclusions that the HSE data lead to and key concerns for businesses.
You can access their summary here weightmans-hse-annual-statistics-2019—2020
As an insurance broker, we focus heavily on health and safety and risk management with our clients. Looking at both the HSE figures and Weightmans summary we believe the key messages around health and safety in the workplace businesses must be aware of include:
- Workplaces are dangerous – work related ill health continues to rise
- Fatalities are down significantly but injuries and working days lost are substantially increasing
- HSE prosecutions are lower and there is a reduction in the level of average fines. This could be attributable to the preparation for and introduction of new Sentencing guidelines
- Work related stress is significantly up so the issue of employee wellbeing is to the fore
Actions businesses can take in response to health and safety in the workplace figures
In response to these figures business need to focus on a number of areas including:
- Thorough risk assessments – to highlight risks associated with the workplace. And to take into account new risks which may present themselves. For example, the risks of home working are many and varied compared to those linked to offices or formal workplaces
- Safety policies and processes – should identify the risks highlighted by the risk assessment and formally document steps to be taken to reduce the risk
- Workplace culture – key when it comes to employee wellbeing. Setting a culture where employees feel supported, able to challenge and which doesn’t encourage risk taking will be a key focus for businesses
As a business it is vital to put emphasis on risk management across your business. Keeping your staff safe and fulfilling your duty of care is of the upmost importance. But you also need to demonstrate a focus on risk for other reasons.
As an experienced insurance broker, we continue to see insurers increasingly focusing on a business’s risk management strategy and their ability to evidence top quality understanding and management of risk. Without a risk management strategy in place, we’d expect obtaining insurance for your business to become more challenging.
What impact has COVID-19 had on health and safety in the workplace?
Weightmans highlight how the HSE data concludes in March 2020. Just before the first national lockdown in response to COVID- 19. Despite this, the figures highlight a significant increase in work related stress and the importance of focusing on employee wellbeing.
You can read more about the impact HSE consider COVID-19 may have had on these most recent figures and data sources here.
It will be interesting to see how these figures change next year when covering the significant period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given what we know about the shift to home working, significantly reduced face to face contact and the additional pressures that the pandemic has put upon people’s work life, home life and circumstances, it is likely there will be a shift in the data.
- A reduction in incidents due to increased home working
- An increase in work related stress linked to the significant change’s employees have undergone in 2020
Businesses must also ensure that the right focus is put on health and safety for those working from home. Without adequate focus and health and safety measures being put in place for those working from home there is the potential that employers could, in future months and years, see claims being made against them. These could be linked to both the physical impacts of home working (back pain if the correct desk set up has not been provided for example) or claims linked to stress (if the correct support and guidance has not been provided for example). Employers must address the health and safety implications of home working, and continue to follow up and ensure adequate measures remain in place for as long as working from home continues
Health and safety in the workplace is something business of all sizes, regardless of the industry you operate in must take seriously. And the unique set of circumstances we have all experienced this year will only further exacerbate this with a real focus needed on employee wellbeing. At Anthony Jones we work closely with our clients on risk management as part of the insurance buying process and health and safety in the workplace forms an integral part of this. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help your business.