• 9 October 2014

Are companies in the UK focusing enough on health and safety?

Health and safety is an issue businesses of all sizes cannot afford to ignore, but if research carried out by YouGov on behalf of Seton is anything to go by, it is something many could still improve on.

After speaking to employees and senior decision makers at small and medium sized enterprises about the subject, it discovered that 22% (excluding those operating as sole traders) believed that no one or just one person at their company has received any kind of workplace health and safety training.

Companies cited a number of things that were preventing them from providing a greater level of health and safety, with 23% suggesting that one factor holding them back is time. Nineteen per-cent of those surveyed said that cost was a big issue for them, while 21% said it wasn’t that important a consideration in their industry.

The research also indicated some differences between how males and females think about health and safety, with 22% of men suggesting too much bureaucracy was stopping their company from offering better health and safety care, compared to 14% of the women that were surveyed.

Looking at other findings from the study, 32% of organisations admitted there had been at least one incident in the last 12 months that could have been avoided had the correct health and safety equipment been used or guidelines and procedures followed correctly.

It also found that the most common accidents to occur were cuts and burns, with 11% of firms noting that these injuries had occurred to someone in their workplace. In addition, 6% had an employee suffer a trip, slip or fall as a result of unsafe actions, while the same percentage had to deal with a vehicle accident.

Views on health and safety

Seton also carried out research looking into employers’ and employees’ views on health and safety, revealing that people living in Wales are the most likely to be completely satisfied with their employer’s ability to meet their health and safety needs.

The research, once again carried out by YouGov on behalf of Seton, found that 41% of those surveyed in Wales felt their health and safety needs were ‘completely met’ by the company they work for, while 34% said they were mostly met.

Next happiest according to the study are those in the north west of England, with 36% believing their employer couldn’t do anymore in terms of health and safety. However, at the other end of the scale, only 23% of those in the south west and 26% of those in the north east felt the same as their counterparts in the north west.

See how satisfied employees in your region are.

Of the UK employees surveyed, 60% said their needs were not fully met and when this was broke down in to age groups, it was revealed that those aged 55 and older perceived their situation most favourably with 55% stating their needs are not fully met, in comparison to 62% of those aged 35 to 44.

The research forms part of Seton’s Season of Safety, which puts health and safety in to focus. Over the course of the coming weeks, there will be further pieces of content to come from Seton’s Season of Safety, so keep an eye out on Workplace Law’s website.