SMEs can benefit from occupational health investment

While it may not be among their current spending priorities, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) can benefit from investing in occupational health (OH) measures.

Occupational health and safety is a cross-disciplinary field which considers the health and wider welfare of employees and their families.

Writing in Occupational Health magazine, consultant occupational physician Richard Preece warns that many SMEs spend nothing on occupational health, believing it to be too expensive relative to the benefits.

Preece writes: ‘While they might feel it would be a good idea, it is too difficult, and perceived as bureaucratic and expensive.’

However, he goes on: ‘Caring employers can be reassured about the costs of OH services. Exemplar services cost about 10p per day. Lesser provision is presumably much cheaper.’

As well as the obvious benefits of reducing legal risks from workplace accidents, SMEs can expect to benefit from reduced absenteeism, better morale and staff retention.

Moreover, the costs of not spending on OH in higher taxes has a real effect on SMEs, Preece claims.

He says: ‘UK employers as a whole can be reassured that an exemplary OH service for all of working age could be provided for about one twentieth of the cost of either incapacity benefit or sickness absence.’

Adam Wayland

Adam Wayland

Adam was Editor of from 2006 to 2008 and prior to that was staff writer on sister publication BusinessXL Magazine.

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Employee wellbeing