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Workplace Health & Safety Guide

Practising model health and safety in your workplace is not just another chore your business must do to remain compliant with legislation and avoid fines and prosecution—it is a smart and beneficial business decision. Exemplary health and safety equips your business for future growth and improves its chances for survival in a turbulent economy. Establishing a solid baseline for workplace health and safety creates a ripple effect that continues to benefit your business far into the future.

Every business has industry-specific risks that can threaten safety and productivity, including:

  • Asbestos
  • Electrical safety
  • Gas safety
  • Noise
  • Slips and trips

The simple and necessary act of protecting your employees from your business’ specific risks makes for healthier, happier and more productive employees—who, in turn, make your business more successful. Maintaining effective workplace health and safety can generate the following five business benefits.

  1. Reduced Absences and Sick Leave

Improving workplace health and safety measures reduces employee absences and sick leave. Healthy employees miss fewer working days. Minimising employee absences and sick leave saves money on both direct and indirect absence costs.

  • Direct absence costs include absent employees’ salaries, overtime incurred by employees covering for absent colleagues and loss of output from absent employees.
  • Indirect absence costs include training time necessary for replacing sick or absent employees, the possibility of diminished services and product quality, loss of business and recruiting temporary staff.

Every business has different absence rates and costs associated with ill health. Assess yours with the Workplace Wellbeing Tool found here. It will help you calculate absence costs to your business and develop a plan to lower them in the future. A concerted effort to reduce absences and sick leave, rooted in model health and safety initiatives, will make your employees healthier and your business more successful.

  1. Saving on Recruitment Costs

By reducing employee absences caused by ill health or accidents, you retain valuable employees and save money on recruitment costs. Recruiting employees, especially for critical positions, can be costly. Consider all the expenses associated with recruiting and training a new employee:

  • Designating someone to recruit new employees.
  • Searching and advertising for new employees.
  • Conducting interviews with candidates.
  • Training replacement employees.
  • Dips in productivity as new employees become accustomed to the workplace.

Do not waste money on recruitment and jeopardise your most valuable asset—your employees—by relying on subpar workplace health and safety programmes.

  1. Lowered Insurance Costs

Maintaining an ideal standard for your workplace health and safety programmes can have a direct causal relationship to lower insurance premiums. A top-notch workplace health and safety programme can lower the number of accidents in your workplace, thus reducing employers’ liability premiums. Almost all business owners are required to purchase employers’ liability cover—it covers workers in the event they become ill or sustain an injury at work.

However, purchasing insurance such as employers’ liability, motor vehicle and property cover is not enough. Insurance policies do not cover everything—they only cover a small portion of accident costs. There are also many costs not covered by insurance that result from accidents or injuries, like:

  • Repairs to plant and equipment
  • Production delays
  • Fines
  • Legal costs
  • Loss of contracts

A double-pronged attack of wide-ranging insurance covers and meticulous health and safety programmes will keep your insurance costs low and your employees healthy.

  1. A Stable Reputation

You have worked hard to cultivate an upstanding reputation for your business throughout the years. Preventing accidents and ill health helps create and maintain a caring reputation for you and your business. Just one workplace accident or scandal can tarnish that hard-fought, respectable reputation. A blemish on your business’ reputation can be hard to remove. Blemishes can include:

  • Fines
  • Negative public opinion that is difficult to change
  • Plummeting sales
  • Media scrutiny
  • Unwanted, large-scale attention

To avoid the relentless public enquiries that accompany workplace accidents, focus your efforts on ensuring your employees and products are safe and healthy. Good public relations can increase your sales and generate more leads. Unwavering attention to workplace health and safety helps preserve a stable and trustworthy reputation.

  1. Improved Productivity

Promoting workplace health and safety helps improve productivity. Stress and accidents at work are two of the biggest causes of absence from work today. Whether they cause short, unscheduled absences or long-term illness, they can have a serious impact on your productivity and profits. If workers have to cover for an absent colleague it can put additional pressures on them, contributing to increased absence in the longer term.

If your employees feel happier and safer, they can accomplish their work with less difficulty and danger. Employees will respect and appreciate any improvements you implement that make their jobs safer and easier. This increased morale can save you money in the long run. Safety measures by no means drag down productivity—just the opposite. Keep things moving by emphasising the importance of vigilant adherence to health and safety policies.

The following information is not exhaustive, nor does it apply to specific circumstances. The content therefore should not be regarded as medical advice and not be relied upon as such. Readers should contact a medical professional for appropriate advice.

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