What do you understand by ‘health and safety’? For many business leaders, health and safety is a compliance issue. For the good of society, we have legal checks and balances in place to minimise the chances of accident and infection in the workplace.
Some businesses treat these checks and balances in the same way as some motorists treat speed limits: it’s OK to bend the rules so long as you don’t get caught. In practice, this may mean ticking just enough boxes to give an impression of compliance.
But a growing number of organisations, in my view, are taking a different approach. They recognise that compliance is just a small part of what workplace health and safety is about. What is really important is risk reduction.
Think about it: if someone gets injured in your workplace then you face an increased risk of legal action. You risk operational downtime. Financial loss. Reputational damage. Staff discontent. Recruitment challenges.
On the flip side, having a good health and safety record can pay off with higher staff satisfaction, lower absenteeism and reduced legal, financial and reputational risk.
Seen this way, it makes sense to look at workplace health and safety as something worth investing in. And this investment need not stop with obvious measures, such as staff training and safety equipment procurement.
It could, and should, also cover all the systems and processes needed to maintain a high safety profile, including regular inspection schedules and a smart inspection-tracking platform. Anything else would be taking a risk.
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