Health and Safety is a critical aspect in the workplace because it guarantees employee welfare and supports them when they are conducting specific tasks and activities. There are a plethora of rules and regulations in place to support employers, employees, and the general public by implementing health and safety standards of practice at the workplace.
It may seem like these regulations have gone overboard with the forever piling rules and regulations on hard-working people. However, it is common for accidents to occur at the workplace, and the business entity bears health and safety responsibilities. In this article, you will find out how health and safety impact businesses.
Why is Health and Safety-Critical to a Business Entity?
Normally, when accidents occur at the workplace, it is because an individual did something wrong, or failed to do something that he or she was expected to do. In most cases, many of these accidents are preventable.
According to research, around 150,000 people get injured and about 150 people lose their lives because of issues made or caused by work. As an employer, it is your legal responsibility to ensure that people do not get injured or fall ill at the workplace. On a business point of view, it makes sense as well because health incidents and accidents could result in:
- Business disruption
- Employee absenteeism
- Damaged reputation
- Legal costs and implications, among others.
By affecting health and safety guidelines in place helps to identify prospective risks and assess significant hazards. These guidelines are critical in protecting the people in the organization as well as their working environment and help save the business a lot of time and money in the long run.
Health and Safety Trends Are Constantly Evolving
Health and safety management plays a key role and entails constant learning and the establishment of safe work systems to always keep employees and their workplace safe. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), risk management at the workplace is key to ensuring a healthy and productive working environment for everyone. As a result, various changes in safety practices are being implemented due to reasons such as:
- Differences in work environments such as fieldwork, industrial sites, and home working. This means that organizations need to regularly come up with risk assessments that vary according to those environments.
- Since 2000, more emphasis has been placed on enhancing occupational health. As a result, there have been increased developments in enhancing workers’ lives and welfare.
- New regulations. Plenty of rules and regulations have been enacted to respond to the ever-changing working environments.
What are Some of the Health and Safety Incidents That Could Occur?
- Slips, falls and trips. These are the common causes of work-related injuries. They mostly occur in the catering business.
- Burns, crushes and cuts. These incidents occur because of poor handling of tools and storage of materials carelessly.
- Hazardous materials. Such incidents take place due to exposure to harmful chemicals, fibers and dust. It can be through swallowing them, breathing them, or spillage on a person’s hands or eyes.
- Fires and explosions. These incidents also occur due to poor handling and storage of flammable materials.
- Sprains and strains. Such incidents must occur on workers who perform forceful or routine manual activities. Strains can be caused by inadequate chairs, poorly positioned computer monitors, and poor posture.
- Excessive noise levels. Excess noise from hammering power tools, and impact tools could result in loss of hearing.
- Electric shock. Such incidents originate from contact with electrical cables and faulty electrical appliances.
How to Prevent People from Accidents at the Workplace
- Develop a health and safety policy guideline
- Designate health and safety competent personnel
- Develop a technique of planning, organizing, and monitoring preventative measures
What Do You Need to Do to Maintain a Healthy Workplace?
As a business owner, start by providing the basic welfare facilities such as hand basins and toilets and equip them with soap as well as hand-drying facilities. Furthermore, you can set aside a place where staff can eat, have a rest. If the employees are required to wear special clothing, then allocate them a room where they can store their clothing and change.
It has to be said, according to David Rowland, Head of Marketing at Engage EHS, that the responsibility for health and safety starts with the directors of a business. However, if they get this right, and instigate a cultural shift in their company, the benefits can include greater brand loyalty and a higher bottom line.
To ensure a healthy environment, ensure that the temperature of the premises is considerable, especiabuslly in areas that involve rigorous physical activity. Also, ensure that there is enough ventilation, and the lighting is suitable for the activity being conducted. There must be a clean environment, and adequate seating and space.
Equipment, machinery and tools need to keep in good condition, and the necessary repairs are done. Employ a team of skilled and experienced personnel to inspect electric appliances and service gas boilers regularly. In addition, properly train the employees on their work activities, and most importantly, what to do in case of an emergency.
All work-related illnesses and injuries such as loss of consciousness, fractures, severe burns and fatalities, if any, that take place at the workplace need to be recorded accurately. If the business entity has more than 10 members of staff, they could use an accident book which can be used to record the accidents and incidents that occur while at work.
Lastly, creating awareness is an effective method of keeping the workplace safe for everyone. This can be done by displaying posters on all sites, and conducting regular briefings and training sessions about health and safety. You can also use images and a brief summary of the rules and regulations that guide what employees and employers need to do. More so, frequently consult staff members and collect their views about health and safety.
Positive Impacts of Health and Safety on Businesses
a) Reduce employee absenteeism and sick leaves. Having good health and safety guidelines in place means lesser incidents: thus, employees are less likely to go on sick leaves. More so, the business will save the direct and indirect losses that occur as a result of employee absences.
b) Employee retention. Health and safety guidelines mean fewer employee absences due to accidents and diseases. Therefore, as a business owner, you’ll be able to save a great deal of time and money invested in the recruitment and training of new employees.
c) Increased productivity and profitability. By having proper health and safety guidelines in place, it means that employees will have the peace of mind to perform their tasks more easily, conveniently, and safely. This motivates them and increases their morale and as a result, you will reduce costs and increase productivity and profitability in the process.
d) Huge savings on legal costs. Good health and safety guidelines can help the business avoid being on the wrong side of the law. In most cases, failure to oblige with the established rules and regulations could result in the business paying hefty fines which in turn, would affect its profitability.
e) Savings on insurance premiums and other costs. By having health and safety measures in place, the business would hugely cut on expenditure on insurance premiums and those not covered by insurance, like production delays, sick pays among others. Uninsured costs are devastating for the business because they are paid from the business’s income.