Reduce Injuries | Keep a Company Asset Safe | Improve Quality and Production | Reduce the Cost of Insurance | Personal Protection | Reduce Business Costs | Impact Business Reputation | Infographic Version
Safety in the workplace should be one of a Businesses top priorities. Making sure that employees are competent at the job they are doing, and the equipment they are using, goes a long way to creating a safe working environment. The Best way to ensure this is to create effective training and Developing a positive health & safety culture, making health and Safety second nature within the Workforce.
These tips to keep safety a priority focus on accountability and training, which is at the core of reducing injuries and fatalities. We hear all the time that ‘prevention is better than cure’ and that is so true for health and safety. The best training is one that teaches safety behaviours, explaining a safe way of doing something or using a piece of equipment, opposite to the negative importance of an unsafe action.
Creating a behaviour of procedures that everyone understands and can act against if others are doing something unsafe. Making safety a core value in the business and Hold everyone accountable, creating a Safety Mindset.This comes from top, from the board of directors, and trickles downs to all levels of management, Managers and Directors should show that they personally care, because safety involves everyone.
For Most Businesses their most important assets is their employees, keeping the Workforce safe should be paramount in a business structure. As these key benefits highlight, dangers come in many different forms, the dangers might not be obvious and it is essential to provide specific health and safety training regularly to keep hazards and accidents down to a minimum.
Safety is defined as freedom from harm or danger, from both physical and mental. The only way to enable someone to be safe is for them to decide to be safe for themselves, Management can ask questions of themselves, such as 'What would I do if…?' or 'If this should happen, then what would I do?' Practise the 'If this… then what?' scenarios, Putting them in the place of the employee. Along with that the employees need to understand what they can do if they feel unsafe within their job.
The Benefits of Training far outweigh the cost, if the workforce is keep up-to-date with current legislation, procedures and safety practices, then they feel valued as employees. Then as a by-product the business will see improving profits and staff morale and business performance. Safe workers are loyal workers and constant training can result in better customer service, better work safety practices and productivity improvements.
It is thought that a Workplace that manages their health and safety correctly can reduce the costs of their workforces’ illness and injury by 20% - 40%.
As this article highlights, Injuries in the workplace can unsettle staff, lack of consistency impacts productivity and training replacements is expensive. The 2011/2012 Report that this article is based upon (now not available online) does a direct cost-benefit analysis of improving safety against the cost of accidents, concluding that there is a foreseen cost (as we highlight above) to business and an invisible cost.
The importance of safety within a business can be summed up in these three simple factors, they explain that a safe working environment reduces costs, improves Quality and Creates a Loyal workforce. With Loyalty is at the centre of the philosophy, they sum up by adding ‘It’s about creating the kind of productive, efficient, happy and inspiring workplace we all want to be part of’
But, Where is the proof that a safer work environment is more productive? This article knits together how positive work cultures are more productive, identifying disengagement and Lack of loyalty as two of the three invisible elements of a poor workplace culture, suggesting six characteristics of a positive workplace and explaining how well being comes from a positive culture.
Safety and a positive workplace culture go hand-in-hand, successes and good productivity are a by-product of a workforce that is confident and treated well, and when this happens safety is easier to manage as everyone feels engaged.
Business insurance is calculated on many different factors and much like home and Car insurance, the price of the insurance goes up if you have claimed against the insurance. Meaning any incident that occurs could push up the cost of your Insurance premiums when they next come to renew.
There are many ways for a company to lower their business insurance premiums, shopping around, buying in bundles or having a good reputation, but one of the best ways is to reduce the risk of an incident. Insurance companies would look for you to Decreasing the likelihood of an accident by making simple and inexpensive improvements, like slip mats and extra locks to security alarms and additional protection on windows, which may seem counter-productive, but could pay for itself in a reduction in insurance rates, before it will need replacing.
It’s important to understand that along with direct costs to the business, there are also in-direct costs, for example Damaged products, lost production and demotivated staff, all have an impact on the business that may not be covered by the insurance.
There are many stories of company directors being fined or even jailed because they neglected safety. In fact the number has trebled in recent years, up to the end of March 2016, 46 company directors and senior managers were prosecuted for breaching the law by the HSE. One of the biggest cases in recent history is of owner of a haulage company and his mechanic. They both were convicted of manslaughter when one of their lorries’ brakes failed and killed four people.
But picking up on specific cases isn’t helpful, a company director needs to understand the circumstances of the risks and understand their Duty of Care. Any unreasonable breaching of a duty of care can be considered as neglect. A company director shouldn’t consider health and safety concerns as a burden, rather it should offer significant opportunities to reduce costs, risks and accidents.
Back in the 18th century, workplace safety was a luxury. Children would be employed in the factories and regularly be injured or killed. That was until factory owners Robert Owen and Richard Oastler proposed reforms to working conditions, they both understood that if they treated their employees well then they would work harder and this in-turn would then make greater profits. They were right and studies indicate that for every $1 invested in Workplace safety, $3-$10 can be saved in direct and in-direct costs.
Making savings and being pro-active in preventing accidents in the workplace and protecting against ill health is an investment in the future of the business, it’s not all about responsibility, but it goes a long way to improve the bottom line.
We have suggested in this guide that the cost of prevention far out-weighs the cost of an injury, and much like this article highlights a safe environment retains employees and they thrive in a safe environment and more importantly the business operates more efficiently.
Nobody wants to do business with a company that puts their bottom line before the quality of the products and the safety of employees.
Reputations can be lost in hours after a large incident, take for example the roller coaster crash at Alton Towers, Merlin response immediately after the incident ensured that the impact of the tragedy didn’t further impact the business. Even though numbers were down in the summer of 2015, people still had confidence that this was a one-off event.
Seaworld is an example where a reputation has been destroyed by an incident, Dawn Brancheau was killed in 2010 by one of the Orcas, in a well-documented film ‘blackfish’ the evidence leads to seaworld putting the profits of the park ahead of the safety of their employees. Sea world have now ended their breading program and are reducing their workforce, because of the negative press.
A Company’s reputation and Safety go hand-in-hand, if the customer is confident in your product or service then you are likely to receive further business, if not or the reputation of the business is undermining what you are doing it can be a steep hill to climb.