‘Health and Safety’ is a phrase that we hear all the time in our everyday lives and has become almost a buzzword, so we sometimes don’t quite appreciate how important safety in the workplace actually is and why everybody should be taking appropriate safety and security measures. Some professions such as construction, agriculture and jobs in the emergency services will always carry more personal risks than others such as office work, but practising good safety precautions will help keep you safe at work, no matter what field you work in.
According to the Health and Safety Executive, from 2011 to 2012 there were 591,000 self-reported injuries in the workplace, approximately 24,000 of which were major injuries and there were 173 injuries that caused death. Apart from the obvious loss of life which everybody wants to prevent, accidents and incidents in the workplace are very costly to businesses and reduce productivity. When surveyed, people have stated that serious and reoccurring accidents and incidents cause them to lose their faith in their employers, resulting in unhappy and unconfident employees.
The Health and Safety Executive advises employers to conduct risk assessments and take any necessary steps to manage and control any potential hazards. This helps employers to comply with health and safety laws and manage any accident-prevention plans. Communicating this information with employees ensures that they are aware of anything that could be dangerous and take responsibility of their own personal safety protection. There is a lot of advice on their website that can help guide employers through establishing and practising health and safety precautions.
As well as wanting to keep your employees safe and protected whilst working for you, proper safety precautions in the workplace can save your business a lot of money. Between the cost of insurance and compensation and lost working days, injuries, accidents and illnesses at work cost businesses around £13.4 billion per annum. Stress resulting from an incident at work can cause employees to take further time away from work. It is an unnecessary cost that employers can take simple measures to reduce.
No matter how many safety precautions you put into place and your employees abide by, accidents will always happen so it is crucial that your employees are aware of what to do in the eventuality of an emergency. If an employee does become injured or is in a dangerous situation at work, being able to get a speedy response can minimise the effect on both their physical and mental well-being and help to control the situation.
Having designated first-aiders means that any injured or ill employees can get basic medical aid straight away, but lone workers have the disadvantage of not having anybody around to help them. Downloading a personal safety application onto their work mobile phones provides lone workers with a means to raise an alarm if they are in a dangerous situation and unable to do so themselves so that they can get any medical or security help quickly.
Safety in the workplace is something that you simply cannot afford to take lightly, but it can be easily managed to reduce the risk of incidents and minimise their potential damage to your employees’ health and well-being.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Hugo Chisholm