You’re probably aware of how health and safety can hurt your business. When someone gets hurt, you may have to do paperwork, and you miss them while they’re absent during their recovery. It can drag on morale, too. Repeated incidents can scare away experienced talent and hurt your business’s reputation. However, these issues have a direct financial impact on your firm. David Rowland, Head of Marketing at Engage EHS, is one of the foremost proponents of a stringent health and safety policy. He claims that a positive health and safety culture is vitally important, and that it can have a knock on effect on your businesses KPIs and bottom line. Let’s look at how proper health and safety can increase your bottom line.
The Reduction in Lawsuits and Fines
Employers have a legal obligation to provide a reasonably safe and healthy workplace. A failure to do so can result in lawsuits. It can also result in fines from the government for failing to provide a safe workplace.
The cost of these legal actions is unique to each case, but they all hurt your bottom line. This is why you should have a workplace risk assessment carried out. You will then need to put the measures in place that they recommend to prevent these hazards or minimise the harm caused if you can’t mitigate them. This has the side benefit of showing that you did take corrective action if someone was hurt or tries to sue.
The first step of a workplace risk assessment is identifying hazards. The 4 common types of hazards are biological hazards (like diseases and contamination), chemical hazards (like cleaning fluids and aerosols), physical (like noise, awkward postures, slips, and trips), and mental (like excessive workloads for instance).
You then need to assess who may be affected and how, assess those risks, and take action. However, even if you do everything in your power, there is always an element of risk in any business, so you’ll have to also assess the severity of the risk from low, medium to high.
Once this is done, you have to continually review risk assessments to take account of new risks that may be introduced either by changes in procedures and work targets, new equipment, or new floor configurations among other things.
Lower Insurance Costs
Every workplace is vulnerable to accidents and injuries. This is why companies should invest in liability insurance. If you reduce the risk of lawsuits and workplace injuries, your business insurance rates will be lower. On the flipside, you can’t afford the hit if you’re forced to pay out when your business sees one of the estimated 140 workplace deaths that happen every year.
You can begin by ensuring that every employee attends relevant safety training as part of their induction process before they start their formal role. It should be overseen by Human Resources. HR should follow up by ensuring that people receive reinforcement safety training regularly. This creates a culture of health and safety compliance at work. If someone is injured at work, consider having them take training to prevent recurrence as well as having others in the same role attend training to prevent themselves from becoming another statistic.
You want to provide safety training related to each person’s job. Fortunately, many excellent resources already exist. Services like FindCourses, for instance, offer a wide array of online safety courses, and you can search for all levels of NEBOSH courses at findcourses.co.uk. They offer short and extensive courses that can be taken on or offline and allow you or someone in your team to get full NEBOSH certification.
NEBOSH stands for National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health course on vocational health, safety and environmental management. NEBOSH formation will allow you to appoint a responsible person for health and safety in the workplace that is familiar with your business.
The Lower Medical Costs
When someone picks up a cold at work, they’re going to miss a couple of days of work. The burden is far greater when you’re dealing with the aftermath of serious accidents and industrial injuries.
If you can make the workplace safer, you’ll reduce the associated administrative and medical costs for taking care of your team. For example, you’re legally required to formally record and report certain injuries and accidents. You’ll reduce the rate at which medical supplies are consumed on the premises and the costs of calling for an ambulance when someone is hurt.
Improvements in workplace safety help the business on other fronts. You’ll also improve morale and, indirectly, overall productivity. Invest in safety training if for these reasons alone. We know that safety training is effective in this regard; for example, British Gas held workshops on back care for employees in physically demanding jobs. They saw a more than forty percent reduction in back pain related work absences. That alone resulted in more than £1600 saved per participant. The benefits vary based on the person’s productivity, but the average incident results in nearly six days off at a cost of almost £600 per employee.
If you follow appropriate health and safety regulations and enforce rules laid down for everyone’s safety, it becomes easier to terminate those who are a literal risk to others. This improves morale and adherence to the safety rules. It also reduces the risk of others getting hurt because someone else cut corners.
Furthermore, when you have a safety culture, employees will learn to take responsibility for safety. They’re more willing to report unsafe conditions and dangerous acts by co-workers. And people know when to report health conditions that impact their ability to do work safely, whether it is pregnancy, starting medication that affects their reaction time, or having been injured off the job.
The Boost in Productivity
A 2013 study found that workplace absence costs British firms nearly thirty billion pounds a year in lost productivity or additional staffing costs to hire someone to fill in for those on leave. This is because more than 70,000 employees are injured in the UK every year, and more than 30 million working days are lost due to workplace injury and illness.
While you can’t eliminate all possible causes for workplace absence, you can take steps to reduce those due to workplace illnesses and injuries. This also makes the business case for encouraging healthy levels of activity in your staff. NICE found that physically active workers take almost four weeks less off work. More than four in five wellness programmes reduced sickness absence days.
A side benefit of good health and safety training is that it ensures people know how to do their jobs right. This increases productivity by reducing error rates as well as interruptions because someone got hurt or had a near miss.
The Lower Hiring and Recruiting Costs
If your workplace is seen as unsafe, you’ll experience higher attrition rates than average. Furthermore, you’ll have to pay more than expected to replace these missing team members. On the other hand, a safe workplace will have lower attrition rates and fewer problems attracting new team members. You’ll save time and money recruiting and training new people. An enhanced reputation may increase sales and generate more leads, too.
Health and safety is more than a slogan. It has a direct impact on the costs that companies pay and the profits they generate. That’s why you can’t afford to ignore the importance of creating a health and safety culture at all levels of the organisation.