Over 200 people are killed each year in accidents at work and over one million people are injured with over two million suffering illnesses caused by, or made worse by, their work. Health and safety should be an integral part of businesses of all shapes and sizes and whilst it is imperative that the wellbeing of employees and all those associated with the company are highly valued and protected for their own sake, ensuring the importance of health and safety in the workplace makes perfect business sense too.
This might seem like an obvious point, but one of the key reasons why managing health and safety is important is because it isn’t optional – it’s the law. Introduced in 1974, The Health and Safety at Work Act is a key piece of legislation that requires employers and employees to take reasonable and practicable steps to ensure health and safety in the workplace. In addition, certain regulations outline health and safety procedures in specific industries and sectors.
The workplace has a significant impact on workers’ health and wellbeing. From a missed trip hazard to excessive workload demands, poorly managed workplace health and safety is likely to lead to work-related injury, ill health and, in turn, high levels of sickness absence. Absence is a key business issue, not least because of the huge costs involved. Work days lost to injury and illness impact on productivity and service delivery, and valuable time and resources are lost in managing the situation.
Improving health and safety helps a business improve morale and productivity. Employees can then do their work with less difficulty and less danger and will appreciate improvements that are made to their working environment. This can save money and add to profitability in the long run.
Creates a good safety culture
An organisation’s attitudes and values regarding safe working are important factors that influence its approach to work and ultimately its health and safety performance. Put another way, it’s not enough to provide safe equipment, systems and procedures if the culture doesn’t encourage healthy and safe working.
Safety culture has been defined as consisting of shared values (what is important) and beliefs (how things work) that interact with an organisation’s structure and control systems to produce behavioural standards (the way we do things round here). A poor health and safety culture is likely to lead to weaknesses due to problems at the person-work interface – perhaps because of poor training or communication.
Raises company profile
A good health and safety record is a source of competitive advantage: it builds trust in a companies reputation and brand, whilst poor health and safety performance will directly affect profitability and can result in loss of trade or even closure of the business. Good health and safety at work secures long-term benefits for employees, the business and the wider community.
For further information on why health and safety is important in the workplace, please contact us here.