Keeping staff and visitors safe in and around your business premises
In a nutshell, health and Safety (H&S) is important since it protects the wellbeing of staff and other personnel engaged in working activities on the premises such as contractors and visitors including customers.
Poor H&S standards can create danger to people on the premises, cause the company to be prosecuted, cost money and tarnish the business’s reputation.
What is Health and Safety?
It’s worth defining the two terms:
Health – the general wellbeing of people on the company premises who can expect protection from disease and other risks; for example, clean air and good ventilation to protect against respiratory issues.
Safety – ensuring people working and spending time on the premises are kept safe.
Examples include, proper safeguards and training given when operating machinery and cutting out hazards in the workplace – for example poor lighting, obstructions in common walkways and exposure to dangerous substances such as certain chemicals.
A business is committed to observing the highest possible standards of Health and Safety throughout their premises, not just in the working areas; for example, if restrooms need an overhaul to ensure the latest safe equipment is being used searching for ‘washroom services Essex’ can yield the necessary expertise.
Accidents can happen
The workplace can be a hazardous place – but then anywhere can whether out in the street or even at home.
Some workplaces are more hazardous than others of course; a construction site is statistically more dangerous than an office but that’s not to say risks don’t exist in these places.
How poor H&S can affect a business
Financial – poor standards of H&S can cost money in various ways. There’s the cost of possible fines and compensation, or lost revenue if work must be suspended or cut down due to an incident that requires a major clear up or investigation.
Morale – there’s nothing more likely to tarnish than a major H&S incident or general poor standards of looking after people.
Staff feel better and respond well to feeling properly looked after and appreciated; poor H&S can hit morale so causing higher staff turnover and possible difficulties recruiting.
Lost productivity – businesses live and die due to productivity; if it drops, costs rise and competitiveness declines.
Poor standards of H&S can hit productivity hard in terms of lost hours due to incidents and possible absenteeism due to workplace injuries of key staff.
Reputation – bad news travels fast and the knowledge that a company doesn’t look after staff and has a poor H&S record – especially if a workplace incident has recently occurred – will soon be known to existing customers, possible customers and potential recruits.
Social media and other online platforms make it easy for bad news to gather momentum and spread.
Good H&S standards
H&S in the workplace is governed by legislation in the form of various acts; the chief one being the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
While the act makes employers responsible for its employees and members of the public affected by their work, employees also have a degree of responsibility to observe and maintain good H&S practices.
Employees should be told about these responsibilities; hence proper training should be a part of promoting and maintaining high standards of H&S at work.
Also, beyond what’s required, legally, good H&S should be part of the company culture in that employees are encouraged to not only take responsibility for good safety practices but suggest improvements when appropriate.