'Ready Reckoner' Helps Cost Out Injuries and Illnesses

Ever wonder just how much work-related accidents, injuries and illnesses are costing your company? Britian's employers now have an easy way to find out.

Ever wonder just how much work-related accidents, injuries and illnesses are costing your company? Do you worry that if anyone ever gave you a formula to figure it out, it would be like studying for that calculus exam all over again?

Well, the UK Health and Safety Commission (HSC) is offering a solution for businesses in Britain. The agency launched a "ready reckoner" to help British employers work out how much work-related injuries and illnesses are costing them.

Health and safety-related problems and accidents currently cost Britain''s employers as much as BP6.5 billion (approximately $9.5 billion) every year. Over 25 million working days are lost annually, with over 1 million workers suffering from work-related accidents and even more suffering from work-related illnesses.

"Poor health and safety performance is a competitiveness issue and employers who want business success cannot afford to ignore it," said Bill Callaghan, chair of the Health and Safety Commission. "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 realize how much their own firms are suffering."

The Ready reckoner was designed to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), and is available as a free leaflet and as an interactive web site, which users can find at www.hse.gov.uk/costs.

The Reckoner explains the associated costs of injuries and illness at work, helps users determine how much their own company might be losing, and provides advice on how to avoid such costs. It also includes real-life case studies showing costs to companies that have suffered financially as a result of poor health and safety performance.

"Small firms are often operating on tight margins. They may not have experienced many accidents or cases of ill health, but when they do these can often have a disproportionate impact on the business," said Judith Donovan, CBE, HSC''s small business representative. "Small firms often have little cushion against these costs, and as the leaflet and web site make clear, insurance policies may not cover the bill."

The leaflet includes three simple ways to estimate what accidents may be costing firms each year, and an easy-to-use form to record the costs of an incident so employers can work out for themselves the real cost to their company.

The Ready Reckoner Web site is designed to be a wealth of information on the costs of work-related injuries and illnesses. As well as providing further information on the subject, it offers interactive calculators to help companies better estimate the costs of injuries and illnesses; an interactive form to record the costs of incidents; and case study material illustrating the economic and business impact of accidents and illnesses.

The Ready Reckoner leaflet is being distributed to approximately 500,000 businesses over the next year. It will be distributed mainly through insurance companies by direct mail.

by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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