If you think that your business will be safe enough if your employees simply take care of themselves, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Health and safety are actually two of the most pressing issues when it comes to running a business and, when left to chance, can give employers endless challenges from staff replacement to loss of profit.
Just look at the numbers if you are skeptical as to the importance of this in business. Data released by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) shows that almost 2 million UK workers suffered from work-related illnesses in 2020/21. This illness and injury obviously throws up many problems for business owners such as interruptions in workflow and financial repercussions, and can damage the overall reputation of the company which can have long-term consequences.
So, if you want to improve the health and safety practices in your workplace to reduce the risk involved in staff illness, where should you start? In this short guide you will find the four steps that we consider to be most essential to ensuring accident- and illness-free business operations. But first, why take workplace health and safety so seriously in the first place?
Why are health and safety important in the workplace?
First and most definitely foremost, certain aspects of health and safety at work are required by law. As an employer, you have a duty of care to take all steps reasonably practicable to protect the people connected to your business. If you fail to meet these standards, you will be liable and may face legal action against you. Taking care of your employees is also part and parcel of being a good employer.
Health and safety rules and regulations are also there to protect your customers, visitors, and the general public. Health and safety guidelines often extend beyond your own business and cover everyone that might come into contact with your organization. An example of this is the need to provide clean workspaces when making products that will eventually be consumed by the public.
Workplace health and safety steps
You need to ensure that your workers are not at risk of suffering harm or injury at work. It is your job as their leader to take steps to either mitigate risks or – better still – eliminate them entirely where possible. You can do this by taking the following steps:
- Assess your risks: You need to understand exactly where your people could get hurt. Analyze each part of your business operations on a regular basis to find out what your risks are.
- Take the right measures: Make changes or implement procedures that minimize the risks you discover through your assessments. It might be that you need to swap out certain pieces of machinery or make your workers wear pieces of protective equipment such as disposable gloves from RS.
- Build a system: Turn these changes and procedures into a comprehensive set of guidelines that explain exactly what your staff are and are not allowed to do in high-risk parts of your business operations.
- Train your team: Each member of your team needs to be well-versed in your business’ health and safety system. Provide regular training around this and provide enough information that they understand the ins and outs of each procedure. Understanding why each measure is essential will help to ensure that staff are committed to working in accordance with these guidelines.
Finding the right set of measures to keep your employees protected is an ever-continuing process. Yet by following our steps above, you can get started on the journey to making your business a healthier and safer place in which to work.