U.K. Survey: Small Businesses Break Resolutions Within a Month

The majority of resolutions to make business improvements this year including workplace safety and health improvements will not stand the test of time, according to an opinion survey released by the United Kingdom's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as part of its "Better Business" campaign.

The results show that 57 percent of small businesses in the United Kingdom make New Year's resolutions, but 21 percent of these will break them within 2 weeks and 43 percent will break them within 1 month.

The results also highlight the areas where businesses plan to make improvements. Better financial systems and more effective marketing were seen as the most important areas of development, followed by staff training and enhancing the information technology systems.

With so many things to focus on, health and safety gets pushed to the bottom of the list of priorities, HSE worries.

However, up to 600,000 people in the United Kingdom were injured or became ill because of work last year, costing their employers an average of about £1,200 (U.S. $2,143) each time. For small businesses especially, it can add up to a serious dent in profits.

"It's easy to overlook or neglect health and safety measures", said Judith Donovan CBE, Health and Safety Commissioner for Small Businesses, "but in fact preventative measures can benefit businesses financially by averting work-based incidents, and the associated staff and workplace costs that follow."

Minister for Health and Safety Lord Philip Hunt said it's a "false economy" for any business to overlook occupational safety and health.

"But small businesses stand to lose far more if they do neglect this vital area, as accidents could have a detrimental effect on their employees' health and that of the business as a whole," Hunt said. "I would urge them to put health and safety at the top of their New Year's resolutions."

However, the opinion survey found that up to 53 percent of businesses do not maintain their New Year's resolutions because their planned changes are either too expensive or take up too many resources. Yet many health and safety improvements are not necessarily expensive and can be easily put in place.

"Whereas many businesses fail to make the most of their new systems or practices, health and safety measures are always in the interest of the firm, as they will contribute to protecting the staff, productivity and ultimately the bottom line," Donovan said.

HSE's "Better Business" campaign is a national initiative that focuses on raising awareness about the financial and personal costs and causes of workplace incidents. It also shows the real bottom-line benefits of managing health and safety effectively. For further information and to read about the business benefits of better health, visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/betterbusiness/index.htm.

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