The improper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is costing UK businesses almost £80 billion a year, according to new research.
The Cortexica report involved surveying 100 board-level and C-suite professionals within industries such as construction, engineering, manufacturing and biomedical.
It found that in the last year of business:
- 84 percent of businesses lost money from injuries due to PPE non-compliance in the last year
- 30 percent of businesses lost more than £250,000 through improper use of PPE in the last year
- 5 percent of businesses lost over £1m through improper use of PPE in the last year
The report also found the proper use of PPE could have prevented approximately 29 percent of workplace injuries last year in companies operating in high-risk environments.
So where is the money being lost?
The report found the biggest financial hit businesses take following a workplace injury is compensation payouts to injured employees, with 30 percent of businesses surveyed stating that they lose the greatest amount of money via the courts. Legal representation is also costly, with 29 percent of respondents stating that the cost of lawyers was at least as costly, if not more than, the pay-outs themselves.
Apart from these direct costs, the report made note of considerable hidden and indirect costs following a workplace injury. 80 percent of respondents said they lose productivity, 71 percent said it made it more difficult to recruit good people, and 69 percent said they had lost businesses opportunities. Other major costs were absent workers and the purchase of new equipment.
Cortexica Chief Executive, Iain McCready said PPE compliance was something that businesses operating in high-risk environments had to get right.
“Not only do they have a duty of care to their employees, but they need to protect themselves from the financial consequences of injuries in the workplace.”
The report noted that along with employee non-compliance, educating the workforce in the correct use of PPE, and then monitoring the correct use, were still major challenges for businesses.
The majority of respondents (64 percent) said they intend to invest in AI and machine vision systems to monitor employees PPE within the next five years.
“To our surprise, the report highlights many businesses (84 percent) are still manually monitoring PPE compliance, even with a number of industry-ready AI applications on the market that can reduce these risks.”