Workplace injury and occupational ill-health are a massive drag on productivity and GDP, inhibiting wellbeing through the suffering and life-limiting effects of poor workplace standards. All employers are required to maintain liability insurance; almost all self-employed business owners maintain public liability insurance. Many businesses maintain business continuity insurance. There is currently no, or only, a tenuous link between performance standards achieved by businesses and the cost of insurances. A mechanism is needed to assess the actual performance of a business against agreed standards for health, safety and environment management within their control. This mechanism should reward the diligent and encourage the rest. Since profit and profitability, or financial performance, are the raison d’etre for all businesses, a financial mechanism is the most efficient. Task the insurance industry and quality assurance professionals to design a “no-claims bonus” type of structure for business insurances. The aims of rewarding good performance and loading cost on poorly performing business should be reflected in premiums. The actuarial calculations should reflect costs to the public Health Service, costs of enforcement agencies as well as costs to individuals and the environment. A desirable outcome of this proposal would be a no-fault liability for harms resulting from work activity. Costs of litigation in this context are grossly out of proportion to very many awards where fault is contested. This is unnecessary in the sense that any harm caused has to be remedied in some way. Too often it is the victim or the taxpayer who pays for the failings of our existing insurance and legal arrangements. Consultees in the task would include employers’ organizations, trades unions, enforcement agencies, health services as well as organisations with an interest in health, safety and the protection of the environment. An outline analysis could consist of a) aggregating the current annual expenditure, from all sources, on mitigating harms from work; b)spreading this aggregate cost across all businesses in the form of annual premiums for business insurances or as a surcharge on those premiums; c) load premiums in a cost -effective way aimed at meaningful reduction of harm; d) disburse the proceeds to those affected by the harms; and e) additionallly, apply this model to the funding of all business regulatory functions of local and national government.
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