Health and safety topping the risk agenda for directors

Greg Davies 2022

Greg Davies
Director of Market Development, Assurity Consulting
28th March 2024

A collaboration between WTW and Clyde and Co., the 2024 Global Directors' and Officers' (D&O) Survey Report, was published on the 20th March 2024, with contributions from over 50 countries.

Highlighting some of the findings the report said:

“Notably, social risks have climbed the ladder, with health and safety risks being considered a very or extremely important concern for 86% of respondents, up from an average of 45% over the previous three years. It now represents the number one overall concern, up from number five last year, knocking cyber-attacks off the top spot, where it has been for the last three years. It is unclear what the precise reason is for this rise in concern but, certainly in the UK, 2023 saw highly publicised fines levied on major corporations (e.g. Network Rail, Morrisons, Serco and Transport for London), alongside a noticeable uptick in enforcement notices issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and reports of the HSE’s impressive 94% conviction rate of individuals.”

Global Directors’ and Officers’ Survey Report 2024 - WTW (

Non-financial risk, and specifically health and safety, has for some time now been seeing greater traction with employers. It is also being driven by a number of factors including:

  • “Return to work” and retention and attraction of staff – the need to demonstrate to employees, workplace and wellbeing are being proactively managed;
  • Increasing reporting - through ESG, CSR and other forms of information organisations are producing or being requested to produce;    
  • Productivity – lost time due to illness and injury is significant, with 35.2 million working days lost due to work-related ill health and non-fatal workplace injury in 2022/23 at a cost of £20.7 billion (cost of workplace injury and new cases of work-related ill health in 2021/22, excluding long latency) in Great Britain, according to the HSE; and
  • Liability – as commented on in the above report, failure to comply in the UK is costly and fines from prosecutions have increased significantly over the last decade.

Whether in isolation or combination, health and safety is being seen as an investment, not a cost, and as a result organisations are looking for credible, quality, solutions that will meet their needs as well as any external scrutiny. Long may it continue.