Recently we looked at why taking health and safety seriously can improve your business, but how do you create a safe working environment for your employees?
The cost to UK businesses each year is over £12bn due to employees being absent from work as a result of sickness and workplace injuries.
While not all of these accidents are avoidable you can really reduce the chances of someone being injured at work or having to take time off if you have a suitable health and safety system in place.
So, how do you actually create a working environment that is not only productive but a safe one as well?
1. Know Health And Safety Law
Really you need to start with the basics, and that requires knowing the legislation.
We don’t mean that you need to rhyme off an obscure subsection of the Health and Safety at Work Act, but overall it is something that you need to know. This legislation sets out what your duties are as an employer and what steps you need to take to protect your workers.
There are various other pieces of legislation that will relate to your field, however, this is the main one you need to be familiar with.
2. Have Regular Open Discussions
Health and Safety isn’t something that you should sweep under the carpet.
Ignoring it or not offering your employees a chance to raise their concerns is not only poor management but can lead to serious accidents down the line. Holding regular staff meetings or impromptu health and safety discussions will let people voice their opinions, but it also gives management a chance to inform employees of health and safety changes.
Feedback is helpful because it can address lesser-known issues and also show that your health and safety policy is working.
3. Conduct Regular Training
Finally, you should ensure that all staff, whether they are new or have been there for years, have the proper training for their job.
This can be a refresher course to ensure that everyone knows how to follow the procedures, or it can be training that covers new health and safety practices. The main reason for this is to get everyone on board.
Even though some managers can see training actually decreasing productivity it is a vital part of keeping employees safe and, if carried out correctly, can increase efficiency in the long term.
There are health and safety practices that will be specific to your business however, these 3 fundamentals will ensure that you not only stay in accordance with UK law but also keep your workers safe too.
Rather than viewing health and safety as something that stunts output and decreases effectiveness, look at it this way: would you rather have a fit and healthy employee that is following the correct procedures or one that has had to take time off work due to an injury?
Staying on the right side of the law is important, but communicating with your workforce and making sure that they are properly trained in their roles is a vital part of creating a safe working environment as well.