Sales and profits are often at the forefront of bosses’ minds, but business owners cannot afford to prioritize their bottom lines over worker safety. The fact is, firms have to put the wellbeing of their personnel front and center if they want to achieve lasting success. People can face a whole range of hazards in the workplace, from obvious risks like heavy machinery and toxic substances to more subtle dangers such as inappropriate display screen equipment and exposure to excessive stress levels. To highlight the significance of this issue, here are a few of the reasons why health and safety is important
Safety standards have improved considerably in many parts of the world over recent decades. For example, Department of Labor statistics show that worker fatalities in America fell from an average of 38 people per day in 1970 to 12 per day in 2013. However, this still means people are losing their lives while simply trying to earn a living. Last year, 4,697 workers across the country died while doing their jobs, while tens of thousands lost their lives due to occupational diseases. Behind these statistics lie stories of human suffering, and as well as the workers who are directly affected, colleagues, family members and friends are also impacted.
It may not be possible for companies to completely eliminate the dangers facing their personnel, but businesses can minimize the risks by ensuring they always follow the relevant legislation. This involves identifying and mitigating dangers in the workplace and making sure personnel have all the relevant training. There are a number of courses now available that can help firms to control safety risks, including NEBOSH courses like the International General Certificate. Aimed at employee representatives, managers and supervisors, this course covers a range of topics,
Preventing including work equipment hazards, musculoskeletal dangers and electrical and fire safety.legal action
As well as benefiting employees, effective safety measures are important as a means of preventing potentially costly and damaging legal action. If they flout the law, companies can find themselves subject to official investigations and they can end up paying a heavy price. Highlighting this fact, a furniture company headquartered in Wisconsin was recently hit with a federal health and safety fine of over $400,000 after already incurring penalties of more than $1.8 million earlier this year. When safety fines are sufficiently large, they can render firms unable to continue operating.
Protecting companies’ reputations
There is also the impact on businesses’ reputations to consider. People want to know they are dealing with organizations that have a responsible approach to issues such as worker safety, and so when firms’ risk management procedures are found to be inadequate, their corporate image can suffer. In turn, this can have a negative impact on their sales and it can put their futures at risk. It often takes a long time for companies to recover from major reputational damage, and some never do.
For these reasons, firms cannot afford to ignore the issue of health and safety. By failing to follow the letter of the law, businesses not only risk their personnel, but also their own long-term success.