A billion dollar mistake: How badly CEOs are underestimating health and safety

1 December 2019 · SaferMe team

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New figures from the British Standards Institute (BSI) reveal that health and safety costs are now the biggest driver of financial loss in organisations globally.  

The ‘BCI 2019 Horizon Scan’ which studies more than 500 organisations worldwide found that health and safety (H&S) incidents were the biggest driver of financial loss last year – costing a total of $1.186 billion to surveyed organisations that suffered losses of over 7 percent of annual turnover. 

Despite the billion dollar price tag on health and safety incidents and costs it appears business leaders aren’t in tune with this reality – and are instead more focused on ‘high-profile’ fears such as cyber attacks.

Leaders in the survey overall ranked H&S as only their 12th highest-priority risk for 2019 – a stunning discrepancy given that it is the biggest cause of financial loss.

SaferMe founder Clint van Marrewijk has reacted to the findings and is urging business leaders to reassess their approach to health and safety.

“Many CEOs and business leaders think they have safety ‘covered’ because they have a health and safety manager and a H&S software system.

“This is flawed. As the research shows, their old systems aren’t working.

“Leaders should ask themselves: ‘how holistic and engrained is our approach to safety?’

“Finding out if their H&S software proactively makes workers safer is also really important. If their software is just ticking boxes and filing documents then they need to realise it is now 2019 and modern software solutions have moved on, “ he added.

Modern Proactive Safety -> Request a 30 min executive demo of SaferMe

Van Marrewijk said that because business leaders are ultimately responsible and liable for health and safety incidents, it is up to them to start a serious conversation about this.

Howard Kerr, BSI Chief Executive, also reacted to the surprising discrepancy: “It is easy for leaders to be kept awake at night by high-profile risks such as cyber-attacks, technology disruptions and IT outages.

“But they must not ignore the smaller, more frequent risks that steadily erode the bottom line. Organisations that do not take all threats they face seriously, or develop plans to manage them, are exposing themselves to not only reputational loss but what can become quite severe financial costs.

“Achieving true organisational resilience means identifying not only the big risks but also the under-rated issues that may just seem ‘business as usual’ and can easily be missed,” Kerr noted.

Interested business executives can register for a free 30 minute demo and we’ll share how SaferMe’s award-winning mobile safety apps can proactively make your employees safer and take your health and safety to the next level.

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