One of the UK's main professional health and safety bodies is warning that British businesses are failing to tackle the risks of injury and illness in the workplace.

A survey, published by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), reveals employers are underestimating the importance of worker protection and are placing it low on their list of priorities.

Work-related accidents and ill health cost businesses nearly £8 billion a year, with absenteeism, low productivity and legal bills among the financial hits faced by bosses. The overall cost of health and safety failures to the British economy, including welfare and health bills, is estimated at £22 billion.

In a new campaign, Life Savings, IOSH will aim to set the record straight on occupational safety and health. Rather than a burden on business, good, proportionate health and safety is being used by forward-thinking CEOs and managing directors as a positive business driver, says the Institution.

It also wants Ministers to make sure that their austerity measures, and blitz on red tape, do not damage people’s health or lead to accidents.