Even today, in a time when health and safety red tape supposedly streams across workplaces up and down the UK, there are a shocking 200 deaths as a result of accidents in the workplace, and over a million injuries every single year.
The health and safety naysayers might be right to criticise needless bureaucracy and over the top health and safety regulations, but in the 21st century, when there are still deaths occurring in the workplace, it is plain for all to see that something has to be done.
Of course, there are some professions where an element of danger is inherent and unavoidable. Forestry is statistically the most dangerous industry in the UK, with workers six times more likely than construction workers to be killed at work.
This simply highlights the importance of preventing accidents and ill health at work; after all, every employee is entitled to thorough training and a safe working environment. With competent workers often difficult to come by, the last thing you want is to put those you employ at risk.
Here are four reasons why you should seriously consider investing in professional health and safety training:
Moral – Whether you work on a construction site or in the comparative safety of an office environment, you have a moral obligation to do all you can to put provisions in place to protect your workforce. This is defined as your duty of care in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Financial – The associated costs of poor health and safety at work are potentially crippling to small and medium sized businesses. Neglecting to put proper health and safety in place because of the associated costs is a false economy. If something did go wrong and you were found culpable, you could face a hefty compensation claim and a huge hike in your insurance premiums as a result. Regularly injured and ill workers will also affect productivity and motivation, with a direct impact on turnover.
Legal – As defined by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, although there are also some other acts which complement this legislation, an organisation is legally required to provide all the instruction, information and training required, so far is reasonably practicable, to ensure the health and safety of employees.
Any organisation found to be flouting its legal obligations could face legal action.
Cultural – What sort of business do you want to be thought of as? The sort that cuts corners to keep costs down at the expense of staff safety, or the sort puts the health and wellbeing of its staff before all else? It’s up to you.
Working for a company where it is glaring obvious all the powers that be care about is their profit margin can be one of the biggest causes of demotivation in employees. Yes, you run a business, so money is important, but the realisation that your employees are the sole reason you make any money at all is key. And besides, you’ll recoup any money you spend with the savings associated with higher levels of staff retention.