The debate: How does health and safety improve overall business performance?
13 June 2016
A panel of experts tells us about improving business performance through good health and safety practices.
Benjamin Graham Wilsher
Managing director, Zonzini UK
Business can only be effective if efficiency is maximised, and accidents, damage and poor health hinder such maximisation. Satisfactory working conditions provide benefits of many kinds, with direct benefit to workers themselves in reduced accidents, but also to the firm in avoidance of loss and improved profitability.
With 142 deaths per year and 76,000 reportable injuries for 2014/15, a safe system of work is essential to reduce not only personal injuries and harm to workers’ health, but also material damage. Consequently, it reduces downtime and absenteeism and improves worker satisfaction and motivation.
Keeping workers safe ensures they are healthy and productive and in turn leads to an efficient business with reduced costs arising from compensation claims and retraining of skills resulting in a more reliable service, higher quality output with increased revenue and a good reputation for the firm. Improving health and safety ensures the wellbeing of both the people employed and the organisation itself.
Commercial director, CKL Workwear Distribution
With H&S, a penny saved isn’t always a penny earned. The true costs to your business from scrimping on H&S may be higher than you think.
It’s easy to reject an item based on the purchase price alone. But the knock-on costs of that decision are often overlooked, as they are intangible and hard to measure. Whether you know it or not, you will be paying far more in the long run – on workplace inefficiencies, staff discomfort, injuries, absenteeism, sick pay, compensation claims, replacement costs of cheaper PPE, and so on – without adding any extra value to your business.
This money is far better spent on quality H&S from the outset. Case studies repeatedly show directors who prioritise this reap financial and performance rewards over time. These include improvements of over 50 per cent in the above areas, as well as in staff retention, a more efficient, motivated workforce, and reduced insurance premiums. So remember, it’s not just the costs, but the value that each item brings.
While it’s difficult to trust in these benefits, in taking this leap of faith, the penny-wise may soon discover they’ve been pound-foolish all along..
Group HSSEQ director, Speedy Services
A good health and safety culture and performance demonstrate that a business is socially responsible, and takes seriously the welfare of its employees and customers. As a consequence, brand image and value are enhanced and customer loyalty rates and satisfaction improve. A health and safety culture within a business also improves employees’ commitment by building a more competent, healthier workforce, and lowers costs and disruption through reduced accident rates and sickness.
Health and safety is fundamental in demonstrating to customers that a business can help them become safer by offering effective, intelligent solutions for their projects. Brand and reputation depend on health and safety – if an organisation such as Speedy did not practise this ethos, we would not survive in the competitive world in which we operate. Health and safety forms the nucleus for all of our tenders and bids, as well as being a pre-requisite for all construction site entry requirements. In a nutshell, a key part of Speedy’s competitive offering is that health and safety is at the core of our DNA.
Managing director, Safety Media
A strong Health and safety culture is a keystone in successful businesses. By encouraging not only safe working practices but a healthy lifestyle, employers can expect greater productivity from a healthier workforce with potentially greater longevity. Being a responsible employer increases loyalty and therefore skilled employees are less likely to seek new opportunities elsewhere.
But it is not only staff retention and satisfaction that makes health and safety important. By encouraging people to work following correct procedures, the number of days off due to accident or injury is minimised. Safeguarding the business against potential court action should incidents occur, by implementing appropriate and robust reporting and recording systems, allows money to be invested back into the business driving productivity and growth instead of spending thousands in legal proceedings.
The strength of a business is measured in more than just financial terms and a proper approach to health and safety can lead to a multitude of benefits.
Director, RAMS Boards Ltd
As an engineer for nearly a decade, I was trying to deliver a health and safety (H&S) message in a quality manner. I was thinking about a focal point at my workplace, something that would attract and encourage the workforce constantly to think about H&S.
With experience, I have noticed that better H&S behaviours and performance goes hand-in-hand with a quality product. It is one of the small components that contribute to completing projects both on time and within budget. We have developed and brought to market the RAMS Boards, which exceeds industry requirements.
Standard notice boards made on-site by carpenters did not meet the above requirements. They were bland and got lost in dynamic construction sites. I needed something that would clearly state: “We are serious about H&S”.
We would like to invite everyone who needs to present a clear H&S message to H&S Expo on June 21-24 2016, where we will proudly showcase our RAMS Boards.