Why Health and Safety in Your Business Can Save You Money
Health and safety in the workplace
‘Health and safety’ is one of those little phrases that can cause some people to actively rage, feeling like it’s a barrier that stops them from doing any number of great things. The truth is, however, that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) rules that govern businesses are a good thing and the benefits of safety in the workplace are endless.
Plus, it can save a business owner a significant amount of money.
Looking after your employees – why a health and safety policy is important for a small businesses
Any business owner who has had to find good employees understands the extent of time and effort that goes into recruitment. From the beginning of planning a good job advertisement all the way through to a lengthy interview process and final offer – it’s a mammoth job that sucks resources from the main thrust of the business.
In fact, when it all works out well and a new person joins the team that is simply perfect, it’s a cause for celebration.
Now imagine what happens if that person is forced to take an extended period off because they became hurt in work – or worse. What if that wonderful employee is never going to come back?
Failing with health and safety in business - the impact of an accident
While not a direct financial consequence, if a serious accident happens at work due to a lack in the correct level of health and safety then as an employer who is ultimately responsible, the feelings of guilt and remorse could have a significant impact on both your personal life, your work and the business.
It is easy to paint a picture that every business owner who failed to adhere to health and safety requirements at work is some sort of uncaring overlord, not bothered by the suffering of his staff, but that stereotype is far from reality.
If someone employed by you were to have a serious injury due to a work-related accident, it would have an incredible impact and the knock-on effect to the business would be rather significant.
Loss of a team member
Missing an important employee for even a short period can throw your business into a spin. Important client relationships may be mishandled, or product deadlines missed. Additional temporary staff may be needed to cover shifts, or the rest of the team may be put under extra stress to cover the shortfall.
Depending on your business, the cost of missing a member of your workforce can mean anything from additional wages to the loss of contracts valued in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The legal comeback
Looming on the horizon is the threat of a personal injury compensation claim. While hopefully you have business liability insurance to protect your company from a direct financial payment, the amount of time and legal costs involved in fighting a compensation claim will be financially damaging.
There’s a chance too, that if you have not properly considered why health and safety is important in businesses, that same level of short-sightedness has resulted in a lack of appropriate business insurance – in which case, a claim could spell the end for your company.
For your company’s sake, it is important for you to have a health and safety for small businesses checklist – and to follow it!
How does health and safety affect businesses in the eyes of the employees?
No one wants to put themselves at unnecessary risk when it comes to their work. If staff, or potential employees, discover that there is no measure for health and safety in the workplace, then they are more likely to choose alternative employment.
Not only that, but they will factor that information, even if subconsciously, into their attitude regarding the business, leading to a poor level of team morale and ultimately, inferior results.
A company with a strong sense of employer responsibility is going to grow at a far better rate than one where employees’ needs are seen as secondary.
Health and safety at workplaces that are open to the public
Maintaining a legal level of health and safety is brought sharply into contrast if your business is public-facing. Companies have a legal duty of care to ensure that anyone who visits is safe and that the environment doesn’t present any hazards – from a simple spill on the floor, to dangerous practices.
Failing to properly adhere to guidelines when dealing with the public will lead to accidents, personal injury claims, fines and, eventually, a closure of the company.
Personal health and safety
How many employees do you need to have a health and safety policy? One – yourself. There’s no value in short-changing yourself when it comes to safety. From the moment you sit down (or stand up) and begin work on the very first day of your entrepreneurial venture, you should do so with a comprehensive understanding of any dangers that may be apparent, and put in place measures to deal with those dangers – whether that’s removing them or properly containing them.
Health and safety is not simply a legal requirement put in place to hinder businesses from getting the job done – it’s an important set of guidelines put in place across the UK to make sure that the work you are doing is done in a safe way for all involved. Yourself included.
What does health and safety mean I have to do?
Thankfully, the Health and Safety Executive have taken the time to clearly document the health and safety guidelines – it is all available on their website.
A business that properly follows the guidelines will:
Undertake risk assessment – evaluating every aspect of their workflow and making sure that all risks are understood. You need to work out what hazards exist and how they might cause harm to someone, then put in place measures to mitigate this risk and document it accordingly.
Provide training – make sure every new member of your team is adequately trained on all equipment, and regularly keep up to date with repeated re-training.
Have the correct facilities – from making sure there are appropriate toilets to putting in place any specialised facilities needed for your specific business.
Provide protective clothing – if your team are working in hazardous environments then make sure you have the specialised clothing to keep them safe.
Properly store hazardous materials – anything that can cause harm should be properly labelled and stored when not in use and have appropriate equipment for its use.
Ensure there is proper signage – mark areas as required and provide signage throughout the workplace to allow employees to stay aware of all health and safety issues.
Document and report injuries – don’t let anything go undocumented.
Have proper first-aid facilities – make sure the appropriate first-aid equipment is on site and regularly checked and consumables replaced.
Take out insurance – protect your company financially by taking out the correct business liability and employee insurance policies.
How can Compare UK Quotes help?
With an extensive library of information for your business, including help with business insurance and other advice on how health and safety can save your business money, Compare UK Quotes provides an expert insight into insurance and financial matters.