What are your first thoughts when you think of ‘health and safety’? Most likely you’ll think about protecting people from accidents, legislation and responsibilities. But H&S isn’t just about risk reduction, it is also about creating healthy environments where people and businesses flourish. Too often we focus on safety and forget about the health part of H&S. A really thriving workplace needs both.
The cost of sickness and injuries
30.4 million working days were lost in 2015 to work related injuries or sickness, costing over £14 billion to the economy in the UK. Ignoring health and safety is expensive.
But it’s not hard to understand why struggling small businesses or start-ups are often blind to seeing health and safety as an investment. The link with hard sales isn’t necessary immediate or tangible. With so many other expenses, non-essential health and safety can be one of the first items to fall off the budget.
How Have Health & Safety Laws Changed?
In 2015, 144 fatal injuries were reported by businesses across the UK. And although this is a significant amount, and one that current health and safety laws are working to change; this has decreased over the years as the way we work has changed from a predominantly physical work force, to more office based working.
From a health and safety training perspective it’s important to understand how the change in the way people are working has changed the way we undertake health and safety training. The risk assessments and understanding of problems that can arise do not just fall under physical injuries, the ‘health’ side of health and safety has garnered much more attention in the past decade.
What you need to do
In some industries basic health and safety requirements are obvious: you won’t get far in the food industry without Food Safety training and assessment. More of us work in office jobs these days and health and safety needs are less clear. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to provide whatever information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of your employees. Further legislation spells out when training is particularly important, eg. for new recruits, when new risks are introduced and when skills need to be updated.
Failing to provide the right information and training means that if there is an accident or protracted illness, not only will your employee suffer but you may be held liable for not providing a safe environment and landed with a hefty fine or conviction.
E-learning health and safety training is helping firms to overcome the cost barrier and increase access to essential information. It is fast becoming the most popular way to provide employers with the resources to give the essential training and risk assessment required in their business. Online learning also frees up time and resources to focus on the H&S support that is not legally required, but can make all the difference to wellbeing and morale. As Richard Branson puts it:
If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.
Thanks to Praxis42 for providing this content.