While health and safety concerns may be a greater concern in some industries more than others, business owners of all kinds have a duty of care to make sure that their employees are not at risk of harm in their line of work.
The likes of construction, mining and agriculture carry inherent risks due to workers’ proximity to heavy machinery and dangerous working positions.
But even office environments can cause harm if machinery is not properly installed and maintained.
Why is health and safety important?
Holding high levels of health and safety can help your whole business’ efficiency.
Having fewer employees on sick leave streamlines processes and any accidents in the workplace could lead to costly legal action, something that could hit your finances in the short and long term.
How can I improve health and safety?
Health and safety is a multi-pronged facet of any business. There are several factors you must bear in mind as you try to protect your employees.
Policies: Clear health and safety policies can help your employees use equipment and interact with their working environment in risk-reduced ways. Whether it’s restricting who can use items of heavy machinery or having clear signage in place across a worksite, setting clear expectations of your workforce helps everyone recognise where they stand in enforcing health and safety.
Training: Running routine training for your staff helps mitigate risks by giving people the tools to deal with risks before they emerge, rather than retrospectively. Training new colleagues is a vital process of onboarding, but ongoing guidance can ensure that standards are kept high across your workforce.
Equipment: PPE can help to safeguard workers in risky conditions while whole environments can also be kept safe; for example, good air quality can be maintained using extractor fans like these. Using the most up-to-date tools can also protect your colleagues as more recent models may have safety features included such as automatic shut-offs and tool-use tracking.
Incident log: Sometimes, accidents can’t be prevented. But making sure that you and your team learn from them is a crucial part of preventing similar incidents from happening in the future. Be sure to collect as much information as possible to inform and potential policy changes you might implement as a result.
What are the biggest risks in the workplace?
According to the Health and Safety Executive, the following are the most common causes of non-fatal workplace injuries, with more than half a million workers reported to have suffered one in 2021-22.
- Slips, trips or falls on the same level (30%)
- Handling, lifting or carrying (18%)
- Struck by moving object (11%)
- Acts of violence (9%)
- Falls from a height (8%)