In 2018-2019, 28.2 million working days were lost due to work-related illnesses and non-fatal workplace injuries in Great Britain, the HSE has reported. In addition, there were 364 prosecutions which resulted in £54.5 million of fines being distributed.
The costs associated with any workplace injury or illness come straight out of the profits of your business. However, by emphasising the importance of a safe working environment and educating your employees on how accidents can directly affect them, you can help keep your employees safe and look after your business’s bottom line.
From a financial perspective, there are many ways that having healthy workers can benefit your business by directly and indirectly reducing costs, including:
- Fewer employees taking absences for illness
- Smaller expenditures for return-to-work programmes
- Higher-quality products being produced
- Less money spent on replacing workers
- Increased productivity and morale
- Better use of resources
A health and safety programme will also benefit your employees and their families because good health and a lack of injuries leads to less stress, a steady income and a happy family life. Therefore, it is in your best interest to protect your employees as it can help you avoid future losses.
So where should you start?
Developing a ‘safety culture’ within your business should be your top priority as it will greatly impact accident reduction. A ‘safety culture’ consists of shared employee beliefs, attitudes and practices towards health and safety. It’s important to involve all employees and not just management in the process to raise awareness of the policies and procedures that are in place.
Here are five ways to instil a ‘safety culture’ in your workplace to ensure that everyone feels responsible for employee safety, as well as the need to identify unsafe conditions or behaviours and correct them.
1. Show your commitment
Your business should demonstrate a commitment to the health and safety of your employees by providing safe work practices and promoting the fact that unsafe actions are not tolerated. As a first step, you should develop a ‘safety vision’ for your workplace. This should include your key policies, goals, measures and your strategic and operational plans for health and safety.
2. Lead by example
You can’t expect your employees to buy into your ‘safety culture’ if your key individuals don’t. Your managers and supervisors should have a shared vision of health and safety goals and objectives. They should visibly show how they are involved and set proper examples to motivate other employees to get on board.
3. Get the right tools
Although it may seem obvious, making sure that you have the right safety equipment, maintaining that equipment and checking that it is worn properly by your employees should not be overlooked.
4. Provide training
Promoting safety training sessions is key. For new employees, they could pair up with experienced workers to be shown safe work procedures. It’s important that management are present during introductory sessions for new workers to demonstrate that health and safety is part of the company-wide culture.
5. Stay ahead of the game
Make health and safety part of workplace communications. Employees should be encouraged to look out for others and report health and safety concerns. You should develop a system for tracking accidents, correcting hazards and reporting near-miss accidents and injuries so that preventative measures can be identified for the future.
Creating and implementing an effective ‘safety culture’ within your workplace will help you reduce accidents, look after the wellbeing of your staff and control the losses of your business. For advice on managing health and safety in your workplace, please contact Thomas Carroll Management Services on 02920 853794 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.