When you run a business, it comes with many responsibilities, Health & Safety may seem like one of the areas that can be left to others to oversee, but it is far too important to ignore completely.
This is especially true as any business owner has the ultimate responsibility of caring for the wellbeing of both staff and clients whenever they are either on company premises or actively working elsewhere.
But having a well-organised Health & Safety system can mean that you can be confident that all steps are taken to look after the people who work for you or who use your products or services.
There are a number of other key benefits that this will bring which divide into the following eight areas.
Any business that has a proper system in place will automatically give great reassurance that potential risks have been identified and rectified and that proper due care and attention is being paid to others as they arise. Naturally, not all risks can be completely eliminated. But being aware of them and taking all necessary steps to prevent them from occurring will give you and your staff the peace of mind that the workplace is as safe as it can possibly be.
A further benefit of having a Health & Safety policy that is written down and approved is that it can always be referred to whenever needed.
It’s been estimated that every single year injuries to staff and ill health cost UK businesses a staggering £13.8 bn. The fact that many of these would not occur if proper procedures were in place underlines how much of this cost could be avoided.
It would also mean that, for the organisations facing these expenses, it could have released money that could be better spent on improving facilities and equipment and even taking on more staff.
Staff who are injured in the course of their duties quite rightly take time off to recover and recuperate. This, then, means there is a need to either place greater burdens on the employees who are at work or to take on temporary workers to plug the gap. This is not only an expensive solution to the issue; it will also mean temporary staff will probably need an element of training before they can work as effectively as you need them too.
A number of research projects have been carried out to discover what the positive effects on staff can be from having a robust and clear Health & Safety policy in place. Many have found that this is something that is highly valued, leading to greater staff loyalty. What’s more, in one survey carried out by the insurer Aviva 61% of people interviewed said they would work harder for employers investing in their health. After all, it’s a two-way contract so if you can demonstrate the fact that you have your staff’s safety and wellbeing as a priority, it is certain to create a more satisfied and hard-working group of employees.
For a long time, there has been the supposition that investing in Health & Safety can have a very positive effect on an organisation’s bottom line. While it’s very hard to analyse this in very much detail – there are so many variables and other influences at play – one estimate is that it can generate as much as £12 in extra revenue for every £1 spent. Partly this can be put down to the greater productivity and loyalty of staff and it may also relate to the other savings already mentioned.
Today, more than ever, the way an organisation acts can have a direct influence on how much clients want to work with them. Where tenders are needed it’s generally obligatory to give evidence of having a policy in place. Even in less formal processes, it can also be a requirement. So showing a proper concern for health and safety can mean another box can be safely ticked off.
Business insurance can represent a fairly significant expense. In assessing the risk a business poses insurers will also often look at both the Health & Safety record to date as well as the system that is in place. If everything is in order, it can mean a lower premium. But not having a policy, or having a track record of incidents, may increase the cost of insurance. In some cases, it may even mean that cover is totally refused.
We’ve left this point until last because this is arguably the most important one of all. When there is a failure in Health & Safety at work there is generally some form of investigation. The bigger the incident, the more searching this will be. Where a company is found to have breached the rules a fine is generally payable. But, in the most serious cases, prosecutions can occur with directors being held personally responsible for failings with the chance of being imprisoned as a result.
But having a sound Health & Safety policy in place and ensuring that all staff are able to follow it means these sorts of incidents should not occur. So, as if the wellbeing of staff and the profitability of the company are not compelling enough reasons, this should be sufficient to make sure that this vital piece of policy is in place.
At Sentient, we are experts in all aspects of health and safety. Among the services that we can provide are:
If you’d like to learn more and to discuss your particular Health and Safety needs please contact Sentient today.