Health and safety can help tackle UK economic crisis

A poll conducted by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) found that many agreed that workplace health and safety can help tackle the UK’s current economic crisis.

Health and safety is key to tackling the current economic crisis in the UKThe snap social media poll conducted earlier this month found that more than two thirds of respondents (68%) said ‘Yes’ when asked if occupational safety and health (OSH) could do anything to help the economy.

Economic inactivity rates are currently rising and more than 1 in 5 adults are reported to be not actively looking for work.

Health and safety boosts productivity and profit

Responding to the poll, Stephen Lawson, Director of Environment, Health and Safety at Tufts University, near Boston, USA, said:

“Fewer accidents and incidents = high productivity, more profit.”

It’s a message that IOSH and other professional health and safety bodies have been trying to emphasise for years.

IOSH says that health and safety can boost productivity and profitsIOSH has recently spoken out on the importance of flexible working and other inclusive working practices to help enable more people to return to work. They have also long called for organisations to prioritise a people-focused work culture and develop mentally healthy workplaces.

Alan Barwise, CertIOSH, suggested that OSH should “promote wellbeing and educate managers on just how important a nice, safe, clean and well-thought-out workplace is.

“Young adults, since Covid, now expect quiet spaces, safety hubs, hot showers, mobile phone safe spaces, email, internet, the latest office equipment and IT.”

His post also suggested that employers needed to be more flexible with staff, saying: “As a country, we are still stiff.”

The business case for health and safety investment

Respondents also noted that companies often sacrifice health and safety expenses in a tough economic climate.

One health, safety and environment professional posted:

“This is not good for the profession and is a huge concern for compliance and accidents which result from not giving enough budget to health and safety.”

IOSH has long made the business case for complying with health and safety regulations, and for going beyond this to ensure that the health, safety and welfare of employees is prioritised.

IOSH recommends a people focused work culture that prioritises health and safetyUrging employers to generally “adopt a more human-centred attitude to their employees that will help boost their health and wellbeing,” Corey Edwards, Senior Policy and Public Affairs Manager at IOSH, previously said the key was “to find people appropriate and supportive work that’s good for them, good for society and good for our economy.”

Prioritising workplace health could bring widespread benefits, he argues, enabling countless people, including those who are disadvantaged, “to start, return, stay and succeed in work.”

Last year, after the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) annual statistics revealed that half of all cases of work-related ill-health in Great Britain in 2022-23 were due to workplace mental health problems, IOSH reiterated its belief that a people-focused work culture is key to reducing and preventing such problems.

Citing how poor mental health costs UK employers an estimated £45 billion a year as a result of issues such as absenteeism, presenteeism and staff turnover, Edwards says:

“There’s no question investment in good OSH practice yields valuable returns and should never be viewed as an avoidable cost.”

Good health and safety training

First Response Training (FRT) is one of the UK’s largest and leading national training providers.

People need health and safety to help them get back to workThey deliver a wide and diverse range of training for businesses and organisations across all industry sectors and throughout the UK. Their course range includes training in the fields of health and safetyfirst aidfire safetymanual handlingmental healthfood safetyhealth and social care and more.

Their health and safety training is mapped to UK standards and legislation and follows HSE guidelines. The portfolio includes courses such as Health and Safety, Managing Health and Safety, Risk Assessment, Accident and Incident Investigation, Working at Height, Asbestos Awareness and many more.

An accredited Mindful Employer themselves, FRT’s specialist mental health training courses include Understanding Mental HealthMental Health Awareness in the WorkplaceManaging StressAnxiety and Phobias AwarenessSelf-Harm Awareness and Suicide Awareness.

They can also provide qualified, approved trainers to deliver accredited Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training courses, including the Adult, Youth and Lite versions.

A trainer from FRT says:

“We believe in creating safer working environments with people who care. This is our vision and central to our services. It means providing training that helps to protect people’s physical and mental health, safety and welfare.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to