RR504 - Six SME case studies that demonstrate the business benefit of effective management of occupational health and safety

This report describes the research undertaken to provide information on the business benefits of health and safety initiatives within six SME organisations. A further part of the work was to develop case study material presenting the salient points of the case studies which can be used to persuade SMEs of the wider potential benefits of improving health and safety. This material will be published by HSC separately on the HSE website.

The key finding of the research is that in each of the cases described, whatever the original motivation, the organisations believed that improving health and safety was integral to business risk management. The organisations were motivated to improve aspects of health and safety because of the potential risk to the business if this was not addressed. These benefits included a mix of both tangible and intangible benefits, such as maintenance of reputation, client requirements, controlling insurance premium costs, reduction in absence rates as well as general improvements in health and safety.

Common to other research experience, it was also found that SMEs rarely systematically or comprehensively track the costs and benefits of undertaking a particular initiative, particularly where health and safety is integral to management.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2021-04-20