According to data from the Health and Safety Executive and the Labour Force Survey, almost 700,000 people sustained an injury at work in Great Britain in 2019-20. Statistics also reveal there were 111 fatalities and 1.6 million work-related illnesses, while the estimated cost of all these issues in 2018-19 amounted to £16.2 billion.
The raw numbers are certainly startling, and offer undeniable evidence of how important it is for businesses to do all they can to look after their employees. Accidents do happen, of course, and thankfully the general trend shows a steady decline in the number of employer-reported non-fatal injuries, but it’s still vital that those in charge are staying on top of the matter and making employee welfare a priority.
Why is safety so important?
On a fundamental level we have an obligation to care for each other, so the health and safety of all parties within the business should be of the utmost importance. There are also financial implications, as outlined above, while a failure to properly protect any member of staff could result in serious consequences.
Not only could the employee suffer from serious and potentially life-changing injury or illness, but any negligence on behalf of the business may lead to a lawsuit and significant economic and reputational damage.
How can you improve the safety of your business?
All members of staff should be required to undertake frequent courses and refreshers so that they have a full understanding of safety protocols. They should also be encouraged to remain vigilant at all times and look out for their colleagues. Fostering a culture of responsibility and accountability will help to ensure potential hazards are flagged up before they become a problem.
Give employees the necessary equipment
Not all workplaces require personal protective equipment, of course, but there are plenty of environments that do mean additional measures need to be put in place. On a busy construction site, for example, all employees should be issued with hard hats, steel-capped boots, masks, gloves, ear plugs to protect their ears and high-visibility clothing to ensure they can be easily spotted.
Maintain high standards of cleanliness
To avoid any slips, trips and falls it’s vital that the workplace is kept as clean and tidy as possible. Any spilled liquids, loose wires or stray boxes should all be seen to immediately and either cleared up or stored in such a way that will not pose a hazard to any employee or member of the public.
Keep a record
Any accidents or safety-related incidents should all be tracked in a log. This can be reviewed on a regular basis and will offer an insight into the type and frequency of any such issues, which in turn should help to prevent any further occurrences.