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News

Good intentions fail because changes seen as too costly to implement

HSE InfoLine : 10 January, 2006  (Company News)
The majority of resolutions to make business improvements this year will not stand the test of time according to an opinion survey released today by the Health and Safety Executive as part of its Better Business campaign. The results show that 57 per cent of small businesses make New Year's resolutions, but that 21 per cent of these will break them within a fortnight, and 43 per cent will break them within one month.
The majority of resolutions to make business improvements this year will not stand the test of time according to an opinion survey released today by the Health and Safety Executive as part of its Better Business campaign. The results show that 57 per cent of small businesses make New Year's resolutions, but that 21 per cent of these will break them within a fortnight, and 43 per cent will break them within one 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 I.T. systems. With so many things to focus on, health and safety gets pushed to the bottom of the list of priorities.

However, up to 600,000 people were injured or became ill because of work last year, costing their employers an average of about 1,200 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 Hunt said: 'It really is a false economy for any business to overlook health and safety measures. 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. 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 per cent 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,' said Judith Donovan.

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, go to www.hse.gov.uk/betterbusiness/index.htm or contact HSE's Infoline on 0845 345 0055 .

Three of the most common causes of workplace ill health and injury are slips and trips, stress and back pain. Further information on these is available on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/

Some examples of simple measures that small businesses can take are: talk to staff - they are often the best people to identify problems and offer solutions; mop up spills quickly; make loads smaller and easier to lift, for example, try to get materials in lighter or less awkward packages.
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