Serious injuries fell by 160 incidents in 2009/10 compared with the previous year, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 5,041 serious injuries were recorded from a sector that employs around 440,000 people.
This fact should start to be reflected in reduced insurance premiums offered to employers across the sector, said Phil Grace, liability manager at insurer Aviva.
Premiums offered are usually based on an insurer’s view of the average risk liability within a sector, so reducing accident numbers should help to reduce them, he said.
Several companies have already reduced their insurance premiums based on their improved health and safety, said Angela Coleshill, director of competitiveness at the Food and Drink Federation.
Premiums for large firms are based on their own claims history, so a reduction in claims usually translates into a reduction in premium, Grace added.
Coleshill attributed the reduction in accidents to improved guidance and information from the HSE. She added that, in recent years, food and drink manufacturers had also worked hard to develop better safety behaviour policies. These ensure that health and safety is considered in every procedure carried out, preventing accidents by changing the way employees think about issues.
Serious injury rates in the food and drink sector have halved since 1990, in one of the biggest improvements seen across all industries.
Reducing accidents can also lead to more efficient performance overall as many accidents result in production lines temporarily shutting down.
Thus good health and safety also makes good business sense, Coleshill said.