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Every year thousands of people take time off work as a result of accidents and work-related ill-health. Organisations can reduce the likelihood of injuries and illness with effective management of health and safety in the workplace.  

There are a lot of reasons for good health and safety management and they can be grouped under three main headings which are Moral or ethical reasons,  financial reasons and legal reasons and we will look into each of these in more detail.

The moral or ethical reasons are obvious in many ways,  according the the HSE statistics for Great Britain, during the year 2018/2019 one hundred and forty seven workers were killed at work and during 2017/2018 there were just over seventy one thousand injuries reported under RIDDOR.  Statistics don’t truly reflect the human cost,  the pain, suffering for the individual involved and the effect on their familities. Most businesses and organisations want to do the right thing by their workers and the good news is that while any accident or illness in the workplace is not acceptable, the number of fatal and non-fatal workplace injuries has been considerably reduced over the last decade, mainly due to the improvements in health and safety management.

The second grouping is the Legal Reasons,  there are laws to protect workers and to ensure that employers do as much as possible to ensure that their employees are not injured or become unwell at work.  They must also take steps to ensure that the general public are protected from harm due to workplace activities or dangers.  There are organisations in the UK including the Health and Safety Executive who enforce the laws relating to health and safety and they have the power to investigate and if they consider that there are serious failings they can take enforcement action.

The third grouping is financial reasons the cost of poor health and safety  can be fines, compensation payouts,  high insurance premiums, the cost of investigations and legal costs.  Other costs that don’t involve a financial payment but negatively effect an organisation or business include loss of reputation, the cost of repairs, they may also experience difficulty recruiting staff and suffer from low staff morale which may well lead to a drop in productivity.

By adopting and ensuring a good health and safety culture within an organisation,  the likelihood of accidents can be reduced significantly. Things that should be considered include:

  • Building design and modification
  • Access to the site
  • Ventilation and heating
  • Lighting
  • Cleaning and waste management
  • Workstation planning and seating
  • Condition of the floors
  • Potential trip hazards
  • Organisation of traffic
  • Toilet provision
  • Food and water provision
  • Storage and racking systems
  • Proper signage
  • Staff training and awareness
  • First aid provision
  • An effective staff welfare policy

These are just an example of things that a business needs to consider for health and safety management,  to ensure that they have taken every reasonable step to ensure that the workplace is a safe environment for the workforce and general public.