Survey shows gaps in SME health and safety

UK SMEs have been urged to review health and safety guidelines after a recent poll conducted by Hiscox revealed that many small business owners do not take the necessary steps regarding potential health and safety risks.

The Hiscox Risk Readiness Report, which featured results from over 1,500 companies, focused on risk trends and how attitudes to preparedness have changed among SMEs.

Scores on the doors

The concerning results highlighted that almost one in three small businesses admitted to not having a risk assessment policy in place, and less than 50% provide health and safety information to their staff.

It’s a legal requirement for most businesses to have a risk assessment policy in place and protect their employees from harm. Oversights like this can often result in potential dangers that progress into on-site accidents, compensation pay-outs and claims.

It also revealed that only 52% provide staff with access to first aid facilities, and 36% provide annual health and safety training.

Small business owners need to be conscious that accidents and illnesses can happen at any time, and that even the most basic first aid facilities can save lives and prevent minor injuries becoming major ones.

Regular staff training is also imperative, as it doesn’t just increase safety in the workplace, but it can help reduce the number of annual incidents. The survey revealed that only 28% have a dedicated health and safety staff member.

British Red Cross found that only one in 20 people would know what to do in a first aid emergency, but up to 59% of deaths from injury could have been prevented if first aid was given before the emergency services arrived.

Sector insight

The survey revealed the industries with the highest number of SMEs that have acceptable health and safety policies in place.

  • Engineering and manufacturing
  • Hospitality and events
  • Accountancy, banking and finance
  • Information technology
  • Healthcare

These industries, due to the nature of the work, often present a greater risk due to them being manual, high-risk and public facing.


 The report shows that SMEs lost an average of £17,185 in the last 12 months due to pay-outs of public injury. Given that there are 5.5. million SME companies in the UK, this number and the survey results are concerning, leading to calls for SMEs to review and update their current health and safety procedures.

Aegis have staff with the knowledge and expertise to advise companies of the steps they need to take to look after their employees and comply with the relevant laws and regulations. Contact our team to see how we can help.