At a time when many businesses are beginning to feel the pinch of the energy crisis, following on from Brexit and a pandemic, this is a worrying time for many owners of small and medium sized businesses.
I am hearing more and more from them that "all my time is currently being spent on ensuring that our business survives" and that therefore "health and safety is having to take a back burner for the time being".
There are many reasons why this should not be the case.
Firstly, there is a legal obligation to look after your workers and others by what you do, and by what you fail to do! Putting safety on the back burner does not meet that obligation.
Secondly, if there is an accident and the regulators visit, you are more likely to be prosecuted or have notices served if you have not got the right safe systems in place (plus there's the Fees for Intervention to pay).
If that wasn't enough of a reason, then this one should swing it for you. Good health and safety management can potentially save a business a fortune!
According the the HSE, each year:
Millions of working days are lost due to work-related illness and injury. This costs businesses in delays, training, people doing overtime, sick pay, etc.
Thousands of people die from occupational diseases. Around a million workers self-report suffering from a work-related illness. If the causes of these are not adequately managed, you will pay in compensation and possibly fines.
Several hundred thousand workers are injured at work. A worker is fatally injured almost every working day.
All of the above can incur further costs to an organisation such as uninsured losses, increased premiums, increased legal costs, and loss of reputation.
Most control measures put in for health and safety reasons are low cost or free to implement, so implementing them can improve efficiency, productivity and morale.
Make sure workers are properly trained for the job they go, or the equipment they use. Failure to properly train an employee leads to serious accidents, uninsured losses, higher risk of prosecution, claims and so on.
Times may well be tough at the moment. They may get worse. But in order to pay your energy bills, do not skimp on the essential parts of business like insurance or health and safety management. All businesses need them. Don't let cutting back on these lead someone requiring the other item everyone eventually needs - a funeral director.
KSH Safety Services focus on small and medium sized manufacturing, engineering, retail and service industries. We can arrange for a "where are you now" audit of your health and safety management systems, and potentially highlight improvements and savings in the process. Contact us for more information.
We also offer over 100 online training courses at www.KSHSafetyOnline.com
Remember, financial worries are no excuse for poor health and safety management. Good health and safety management is a legal obligation, not a nice to have.