Providing your employees with a healthy and safe working environment is extremely important.
Failing to do so can mean that you are breaking the law, can leave you open to being sued for negligence and can mean that you have staff who are absent a lot (because of injuries) and productivity and morale will be affected.
As an employer, you have a duty to provide your staff with a physical and psychosocial work environment free from risks to their health and safety. You must also provide them with safe systems of work as well as information, instruction, training, and supervision where necessary to protect them from any risks to their health and safety while performing their jobs.
Let’s face it: nobody wants to feel unsafe and uncared for, so it should be no surprise that your staff feel that way too.
In the modern world, the workplace has an important role to play in combating the rise of chronic disease, promoting participation in employment and preventing avoidable disabilities. We spend so much of our time at work, the workplace can have an affect on physical, mental, social and economic wellbeing of employees.
As with most things, bringing about significant change can be challenging. If you are going to introduce new workplace health and safety policies and procedures, these are the areas that will pose a challenge:
- Identifying all risks and hazards – if you don’t have good communication you might not find out about them
- Management not supporting a safe work environment
- Employees at all levels resistant to change
- Employees who ignore new policies and procedures and opt to do things the way they always have
- Adopting a “set and forget” mentality – you will need to be continuously marketing your safe workplace practices within your organization and reminding and educating staff
- Proper training and safety equipment – if this hasn’t been part of your recruitment and staff education processes in the past, you will have to reinvent the wheel to incorporate it
Apart from your legal and moral obligations to provide your workers with a health and safe workplace, it’s also the smart thing to do from a business perspective.
There is evidence to suggest that when workers have good health and wellbeing, the health of the business and its performance is boosted.
Not only does chronic disease affect the productivity of workers, it means that workplaces will also have a number of associated costs. Improving health and safety in the workplace can reduce the indirect costs to your organization from:
- High staff turnover
- Workers compensation
- Early retirement
- Production losses
- Paying salaries for work that wasn’t performed
- Damage to equipment
- A decline in the quality of your products
- Lost work time
- Increased insurance costs
Investing in the health and wellbeing of your employees can improve the workplace culture, which in turn can enhance the organization’s image and make it attractive when you want to recruit and retain the most talented workers in your industry.