Health and Safety

by Pete Fisher

Introduction

Employers have legal obligations to ensure a safe and healthy workplace. As an employee and manager you, too, have responsibilities to look after yourself, your staff and colleagues.

There are two main reasons for managing health and safety in any business, no matter how large or small:

1. It is the law.

No one at work deliberately sets out to hurt themselves or anyone else, but turning a blind eye to safety procedures or endorsing short cuts means making a deliberate decision that could leave the company and/or individuals open to prosecution.

2. It makes sound business sense.

It can actually cost a business more to do nothing than to be proactive and take steps to prevent injury in the first place.

A common mistake is to believe that accidents will never happen in ‘our workplace’ – this is never the case; accidents can and do happen at the most unexpected time in places considered safe by everyone present.

Taking a few moments to think about the work and possible outcomes beforehand can usually prevent accidents and incidents, and it doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. In reality, safer and more efficient working practices can often be more productive and therefore save money.

Being reactive and measuring accidents and failures is easy, but prevention, profit and success require proactive investment, both in staff and in health and safety management.