Each year, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) releases a report detailing all of the accidents, injuries and fatalities which have occurred in UK workplaces over the previous twelve months. The 2015 figures show a decrease in the number of health and safety related incidents compared to the previous year — a trajectory that has remained the same for the past decade.
Good news, then, but the HSE’s findings still show that there were 142 workplace deaths in 2015, as well as a further 687,000 non-fatal accidents. From a purely financial perspective, the estimated cost to businesses of these accidents amounted to a figure in excess of £14 billion, on top of the 27.3 million working days lost due to ill-health and workplace injury.
Clearly, more has to be done to prevent accident and injury in the workplace, and it all starts with effective health and safety management. For businesses big and small, managing the safety of the workforce should be priority number one — no matter how stretched you are with pressing business matters.
To help business leaders ensure the complete safety and wellbeing of their workers, here we offer some practical advice on how to manage health and safety more efficiently.
Draw-up a health and safety policy document
If you’ve recently set up your own business, or have just recruited your first employee, remember: your business must have a health and safety policy, outlining your commitment to the safety of your staff. For businesses with fewer than five personnel this doesn’t actually need to be written down, but for those with more than that, you’ll need to draw up an official document.
Worried about writing a health and safety policy? Happily, the HSE offers a number of free policy templates to help get you started.
Carry out a comprehensive risk assessment
Carrying out a risk assessment might sound a tedious and unnecessary task for office-based businesses, but it’s arguably the most important part of any on-going health and safety strategy. Risk assessments are used to identify the hazard spots within your business, and are therefore extremely effective in reducing the number of incidents which can occur as a result of poor H&S management.
Unsure how to carry out your own risk assessment? This step-by-step guide from WorkSmart is a good place to start.
Ditch the paperwork, go digital
In days gone by, health and safety documentation could easily fill an entire filing cabinet, increasing the likelihood of health and safety processes going awry as a result of poor file management. But in an age of digital, it’s now possible to oversee your entire health and safety management strategy from an Internet-enabled device, helping your business remain compliant at all times.
Workplace health and safety specialists, Shieldyourself, cite the emergence of the Internet of Things as a key breakthrough in enhanced H&S management. They said: “By allowing businesses to keep track of health and safety on a cloud-based data platform, the Internet of Things has revolutionised the entire H&S policymaking process. Using specialist software, businesses can manage their safety standards remotely across multiple locations.”
Provide adequate training to staff
For businesses operating in a low-risk working environment, it can be easy to neglect to invest in the proper health and safety training for members of staff. But, by giving your staff a basic understanding of health and safety practices, your job of managing safety in the workplace will be made much simpler.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, or RoSPA as it’s more commonly known, has an entire page on its website dedicated to explaining why health and safety training is so important to businesses, regardless of the sector. From helping your employees to adopt safer working practices, to safeguarding your business against the financial impact of an accident claim, this comprehensive guide offers detailed advice on the benefits of investing in the right health and safety training for your workforce.
By Scott Beaman, Content Marketing Manager, Banc Media