How to Avoid Health & Safety Potholes

Jenny Brannan
Posted by Jenny Brannan

Date: Wednesday, 19 October 2016. -  
Blog, Health & Safety

Health and Safety is a critical aspect of working life. It is the knowledge of you being safe and looked after at work, by your workplace. According to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the total responsibility for health and safety of employees and visitors falls down to the business. But unfortunately, many organisations don’t take health and safety as seriously as they should.

 

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Safety for all on site, whether that is visitors or employees, should be paramount to any business. Some companies see health and safety as an unnecessary cost and look to avoid it where possible, but as many organisations have found out, cutting corners for health and safety can lead to huge consequences. So what can you do as an employer to make sure you don’t fall over the typical speed bumps many workplaces suffer with when dealing with Health and Safety? Let us share just three of our top reasons:

Put in the work and reap the benefits:

When it comes to health and safety, the principle of ‘you get what you give’ is the total embodiment of this critical working aspect. You have to put in something to get something out. In this case, you have to be willing to put the time and effort in to investing in health and safety for the employees and the company.

Many companies are happy to invest their time and efforts into health and safety, knowing that a safe working environment will result in happier, healthier and more motivated employees who are willing to work. With an increase in safety measures and health actions which focuses on the well-being of your colleagues, you will see a rise in efficiency in the workplace with the elimination of hazards to hinder the carrying out of a task.

Without health and safety implementations, organisations can suffer tremendously. If the working environment isn’t acceptable or up to scratch, then a demoralised, unsatisfied and unproductive workforce will feature.

There are many organisations out there that cut the corners of health and safety, some thinking it is simply not a ‘big deal’. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil saw several workers die because of poor working conditions on the construction site.

Sports Direct owner, Mike Ashley, had to face MP’s for allowing the work conditions that his employees were in. It was uncovered that his employees were not allowed sick pay, holidays or breaks, reports even claimed that one employee had to give birth in a warehouse!

A workplace without health and safety can be a dangerous place and cannot function for long if at all as a successful company.

Research, Report, Repeat:

A risk assessment is a cautious examination of what, in your workplace- regardless of environment - can cause harm to people on site. To undertake the assessment you need to think about what could potentially cause harm to people onsite and what steps could be taken to prevent these found risks.

Risk assessments are something that has to be carried out by law. If your business is fewer than five employees, you don’t have to write anything down, but it is useful to do so for reviews at a later date.

With working environments consistently changing; with new people starting, offices expanding and new equipment being installed, regular risk assessments assist in keeping on top of the changes within the working environment and making sure that the newness conforms with the old, by not adding any new hazards that cannot be controlled. If any are found, the up-to-date risk assessments help to minimise and eliminate accidents.

When one machine is too old, it is likely that the company will pay for a more up-to-date replacement. It is up to the company to source the best replacement that will do the job required, but also that will be the safest option. After the replacement is installed, it is imperative that a risk assessment is carried out on the new piece of equipment, whether it is a new laser jet printer or a new digger. The new machinery can pose new risks, meaning the new risks have to be controlled with the assessment.

If a hazard is found, you should report it to your manager or supervisor as soon as possible so that it can be removed and no one incurs an injury.

INVEST:

 Taking the easy route with health and safety may seem appealing, time wise and financially, but have you considered the long term repercussions of this decision? Have you thought about what it could mean for your employees, your company and YOU? Do you think your workforce would suffer without health and safety implementations? All it could take would be a trip over a printer wire for the decision to come back and bite.

An unsuitable workplace environment can be susceptible to seeing an increase in incidents, more work sickness reports and a generally demoralised workforce.

In the construction industry alone, 3% of the employees suffer from an illness they believe to be work related and 3% also sustain an injury that is work related. Recent reports show that in 2014-15 35 employees were fatally injured in the workplace place and 1.7 million working days were lost as a result of poor workplace health and safety.

Investing time and effort into your workforce’s health and safety will make you a more respected and responsible business. You will see the efforts of your workforce increase as they will be motivated, knowing that their best interest is at the heart of the business.

Health and safety is a time consuming aspect of work and a costly one, but investing in your employees will see your business soar.

What Can YOU Do?:

So, are you ready to take the plunge and head for a soaring, happy, healthy and motivated business? Amazing! All of our in-house first aid training is nationally accredited and lasts for 3 years. There are a range of courses to choose from, but if you’re unsure which one is for you, get in contact with the Imperative expert team on 0845 071 0820 and we’ll point you in the right direction.