Free risk assessment for your business

With tribunals over workplace accidents on the increase due to stricter safety rules, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is looking to help small firms reduce the risk of accidents, with the launch of a free online risk assessment service.

The ‘ready reckoner’ service helps illustrate the potential costs of a workplace accident, which can cost small businesses an estimated £2.5 billion a year in lost workdays, according to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

One example case study shows a small engineering firm losing £45,000 as a result of an injury to a worker using a drill. To cover this, 2 employees were made redundant, and to make matters worse, the managing director was prosecuted.

The reckoner provides a long list of business costs that may not be covered by insurance, including lost time, sick pay, repairs, production delays, legal costs and loss of reputation, as well as the increased premiums resulting from claims.

The HSE is again emphasising the importance of risk assessment as the way to reduce mishaps. Chair of the HSE Bill Callaghan says that “risk assessment isn’t some complicated, scientific process or simply a lot of red tape, it’s plain common sense.”

The HSE advises owner-managers to take a few moments before starting a task or project to see the potential risks involved and take steps to avoid them. To help with this, a revised edition of the small businesses-focused leaflet An Introduction to Health & Safety is being published this month.

Many small business owners are surprised at the costs and impact of an accident for their business. They also, often mistakenly, believe that they will be covered by insurance.

For more information, visit the HSE’s online ready reckoner at

See also the Health & Safety and Insurance sections on

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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