Workplace Health And Safety And Why It Is Important

Workplace health and safety are integral to the success of any business.

Protecting your workers and offering a safe working environment will ultimately lead to better productivity, higher profits and a more enjoyable working environment, but it can be a demanding job that requires a lot of planning and a proper approach.

 Why should businesses care about workplace health and safety?

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, employers are responsible for caring for their workers and anyone who comes in contact with the business, but it’s also a very good business practice. Workplace injuries are often unavoidable, but minimising the risk improves productivity, lowers recruitment costs and ultimately leads to higher profitability.

In the worst-case scenario, poor workplace safety can result in serious injuries or even death, leading to penalties for breaching safety regulations or even loss of the business. Injuries or deaths at a workplace are relatively rare; however, work-related illnesses, including work-related stress and musculoskeletal disorders, are still prevalent.

In 2022, there were 1.8 million work-related health cases among UK workers, which resulted in 36.8 million working days lost for businesses. It’s easy to associate workplace injuries with physical injuries; however, a large proportion involve work-related stress, anxiety or depression. These sources made up nearly half (17 million) of the working days lost to businesses in 2022.

Caring about workplace health and safety can avoid causing harm to workers and the profitability of your business. It also shows that you’re a good employer who cares about your staff, clients and business partners.

 How can workplace safety be improved?

Business owners have many tools to help ensure a safe workplace environment, but they all have to follow the requirements of ISO standards. However, ISO standards are merely a guide and are not prescriptive regarding the design of the Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) management system.

Workplace health and safety is a joint effort, meaning employees have some degree of responsibility. Ultimately, however, it comes down to the employer, who must ensure that workers have a satisfactory working environment and are protected from everything that could cause harm at the workplace.

One of the more efficient ways to improve workplace safety is to introduce training courses to educate and familiarise workers with working hazards and preventive measures. Employing health and safety representatives who will be responsible for health and safety is another efficient tool for businesses.

There are also other simple and cost effective things that can improve workplace health and safety. These include regular meetings with employees and OH&S officers, providing and maintaining the proper equipment and introducing workplace drug testing kits, which can be used as preventive and curative measures.

Often overlooked, alcohol and drug abuse are major causes of workplace injuries, with reports showing that 40% of all incidents in the UK were related to alcohol and substance consumption. Moreover, according to studies, workers with alcohol problems are 2.7 times more likely than workers without drinking problems to have an injury-related absence, so it’s often recommended to hire a professional company to perform regular lab tests.

Ensuring workplace health and safety requires a lot of planning, proper management and suitable systems to achieve. In the end, investing in a safe working environment will lead to better productivity and higher profits.

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