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Workplace Absences Cost UK Economy £100bn Annually

The consequences of workplace injuries can be devastating for employees, but employers that do not protect the health and fitness of their workers can also face substantial difficulties. These do not just include inflated insurance premiums due to accident at work compensation claims and industrial illness claims, but also disruption to the business and a loss of productivity.

Research by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) revealed that almost 650,000 people in the UK call in sick at work every week, with this impacting the country’s economy by £100 billion annually.

The organization’s Public Administration and Defense sector sees the highest number of workplace absences. This sector, which includes public sector workers, sees around 51,000 absences in the average week.

But poor health and safety standards are not just damaging productivity when employees are absent or make industrial illness claims or claim accident at work compensation. The study also showed that of the eight million people who experienced health problems that lasted over 12 months, almost half (44%) said they are unable to perform all of their working duties fully, despite being able to make it back into work.

Improving the health and fitness of workers

The BHF noted that these high levels of sickness absence and significant reductions to productivity could be prevented if employees had a healthier lifestyle. The BHF highlighted its Health at Work program as an example of ways employers could improve the health of their workforce.

Personal injury solicitors note that health and safety regulations are developed so employers can prevent accident at work compensation claims and other personal injury claims and should help employers prevent any unnecessary employee absences.

Employers are legally obliged to take all reasonable steps to protect their employees. If they are negligent towards this duty, then they can end up paying out significant sums of money – either by themselves or through their insurers – through personal injury claims, and could also encounter fines and prosecutions from the Health and Safety Executive. They may also encounter prolonged workplace absences, rapid employee turnover and poor worker morale. However, while these economic arguments may provide the most compelling reason for businesses to ensure the health and fitness of staff, being responsible for the ill-health of an employee could see employers face emotional problems such as guilt, and it is arguably more important to ensure employee safety from a moral standpoint than from a financial one.

What Employers Can Do

Any employers who are unsure whether or not they are effectively protecting the health and safety of their personnel ought to speak with a consultant and examine the BHF’s Health at Work program before it is too late.

Businesses that focus on employee health and fitness will see productivity increase and sickness absences decrease. Unfortunately, too many businesses are missing the opportunity to improve the productivity, health and morale of their workforce, and may face severe financial problems as a direct result of this.

About the Author

Carol Smith is working with the team of personal injury compensation solicitors and also many years experienced in health care sector. She is constantly striving to deliver the highest possible standards of patient welfare and to ensure hospitals abide by the strictest health and safety regulations.

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One comment

  1. Interestingly, a study in the U.S. to determine the effects of Connecticut’s new sick leave law showed that required sick leave had no impact on business. In fact, only a third of workers actually used their paid sick days.

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