When we hear about health and safety initiatives in the work place, most of us are hoping that there aren’t going to be any new processes introduced that will make our work days less efficient. Questions are asked like “Why does this apply to me?” and “shouldn’t this be someone else’s responsibility?” The truth is that Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) is in fact everyone’s responsibility.
WHS programs and initiatives will vary across different industry sectors, however it is important for any business large or small to prioritise health and safety as they most likely have a primary duty of care under the legislation.
In most countries, an act will exist to govern how businesses operate in regard to health and safety. In Australia, this refers to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 which provides a balanced and nationally consistent framework to secure the health and safety of workers and workplaces. This mean that a PCBU must provide employees with an environment free from known hazards such as exposure to mechanical dangers, heat or cold stress, excessive noise levels, exposure to toxic chemicals, unsanitary conditions, and anything else that may be detrimental to a worker’s health or safety.
This blog post will discuss the reasons businesses should take WHS seriously for the benefit of the organisation, while at the same time providing a duty of care to their employees.
It is in the best interests of all businesses to address WHS because…
- Reduced staff turnover and days off work.
Employee turnover and absenteeism can add to operational costs as well as effect productivity
- Staff will feel more valued and be happier at work
When employee morale is improved, they can better cope with stress and change. Improved morale also leads to greater productivity and a more functional workplace environment overall.
- Increased productivity and job satisfaction
Increased productivity is an obvious advantage because having a more productive workplace is more profitable. Better job satisfaction results higher employee retention and
increased levels of customer service
- Reduced insurance costs, fines, and risk of litigation
When WHS is addressed appropriately, the rate of incidents will be reduced, resulting in lowered insurance costs for the business. The risk of having to pay fines and litigation fees is also reduced.
- Improved corporate image and culture
A company that is “WHS friendly” generally has an improved image and culture to the broader market. Not only is this great PR, but it also increases a company’s ability to attract and retain skilled talent and customers.
Compliance management is important because if workers aren’t complying with WHS guidelines and practices, incidents will continue to occur despite having a thorough WHS plan in place, making it redundant.
Safety and compliance go together like (to quote the simple wisdom of ‘Forrest Gump’) peas and carrots, if either fails, the entire system falls apart. Bottom line, if you look after your employees, they in return will take care of your business.