Each year in April, The International Labour Organisation (ILO) marks its international ‘World Day for Safety and Health at Work’ campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work around the globe.
While prioritising the health, safety and wellbeing of workers is a legal obligation for any organisation, it also makes good business sense, especially as the financial and indirect costs of getting it wrong continues to rise. Employers have a fundamental duty of care for their employees’ physical and mental health and wellbeing, which should be at the core of any people strategy, and central to the way an organisation operates.
For most businesses, zero accidents is the ultimate goal to achieve. Nobody goes to work to get injured or become unwell. However, the reality in the statistics serves as an apt reminder that we need to do more to create safer workplaces and improve the health, safety and wellbeing of employees. In November 2020, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released its annual statistics on work-related health and safety in Great Britain. In 2019/2020, HSE figures show that 1.6 million working people were suffering from work-related ill health in the UK (up 14% from 1.4 million in 2018), 700,000 workers sustained injuries, 111 fatally and more than half of the total working days lost were due to stress-related conditions.
Gary Broadley, Senior Consultant at Alcumus:
“Workplace safety is no longer limited to preventing physical injury or illness but is evolving to include mental health and wellbeing. Businesses must encompass this dimension in their policies if they’re to build sustainable, resilient operations.”
Recognising the importance of health & safety in the workplace, we’re proud to be a sponsor once again at the Safety & Health Excellence Awards, taking place on 28 April, where we’ll be revealing the winner of the Health & Safety Manager of the Year Award.
Protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of workers and contractors
As businesses once again prepare for a gradual return to on-site operations, prioritising workplace health and safety will help you to manage and mitigate your risk exposures. Businesses should put employees’ health and safety at the centre of their return-to-workplace processes.
As employees become more alert to workplace risks, particularly in light of COVID-19, a safety conscious culture is more important than ever before so that workers have the confidence that their employer is taking action and that they’re being cared for. By implementing the ISO 45001 standard, you can demonstrate your commitment to the health, safety and wellbeing of your employees, visitors and anyone affected by your organisation’s activities.
With many industries also characterised by a large number of contractors, both companies and the contractors you use have responsibilities under health and safety law to make sure the right precautions are in place to reduce the risks of workplace dangers. So, when it comes to choosing the contractors you work with, you need to satisfy yourself that the contractor can do the job safely and without risks. To further improve worker safety, electronic permit to work solutions helps a range of sectors to efficiently manage and control the risk of using third party workers across multiple sites and make sure that all contractors have the appropriate permits for the work they’re doing.
Creating a safe and healthy work environment
At Alcumus, we understand how important it is to make sure your employees are safe at work and that your business is compliant with health and safety at work regulations. We’ve been helping organisations of all sizes and in all sectors since 1979 – keeping people safe and reducing risks.
In order to comply with current health and safety legislation, businesses need to make sure that they have effective health and safety management systems in place which are proportionate to the size and the nature of business activity. We can help to ‘join the dots’ with our free back to basics guides to make sure your health and safety compliance is up to date, so you can operate confidently.
As part of your health and safety management planning, engaging and involving employees directly with health and safety in the following areas will help to maintain a safe working environment:
- Facilities and workplace management – responding to the pandemic and planning COVID-secure workplaces, facilities and workplace management will need to focus on making the right adjustments to create and maintain safe workplaces.
- COVID-secure workplaces – businesses shouldn’t be complacent and need to continue to adapt and react quickly throughout the pandemic, have work risk assessments in place and that existing assessments are reviewed and updated in line with any changes to minimise the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace.
- Risk management and controls – having the right risk assessments in place is a first step, but now more than ever, you should revisit and update risk assessments, consider additional risks and control measures as well as reviewing and updating wider risk assessments and consider whether you need to put in place additional controls to meet Health and Safety Executive (HSE) requirements. You should also record details of risk assessments, the measures taken to reduce these risks and expected outcomes.
- Equipment safety – for workers in specific industries, they are exposed to potential hazards in their day-to-day role. Employers are required to make sure that potential hazards within these workplaces are regularly assessed and that all equipment is fit for purpose and safe for use.
- Health and safety training – clearly, no business large or small can create a safe workplace and environment just through safe equipment and procedures alone. Training is your opportunity to help build risk management into every aspect of your company. When you plan your safety training, make sure your goal isn’t just to comply with regulatory demands, but also to minimise incidents, maximise awareness, and keep employees healthy and productive.
Protecting the health and safety of your workforce and staying on top of records and reporting accidents will help you to manage risks and prevent future injuries, accidents and incidents of ill-health. Need health and safety support? Alcumus can help with a wide range of risk management services, including products across Supply Chain Management, EHSQ Software, UKAS Accredited Certification and HR and health and safety support services. You can call us on 0333 363 7531 or get in touch with us online.
Helpful resource: Health and Safety Executive: A guide to health and safety regulation in Great Britain.