While compliance with health and safety regulations is a legal requirement for any employer, seeing compliance as the ultimate aim can be somewhat limiting. Going above and beyond the requirement for compliance can bring many advantages to businesses and employers. A more ambitious, performance based approach to managing health and safety impacts and risks may seem costly, but the benefits will probably far outweigh these costs in the long term.
While compliance with legal health and safety standards is essential for any business or employer, going above and beyond those minimum legal standards demonstrates that the company is always seeking continual improvement. This will bring any business added benefits such as:
· Providing a cost effective control over health and safety issues. Ensuring that good practice is in place means that health and safety hazards will be identified at an early stage, providing the opportunity to address the situation and minimise risks.
· Improving efficiency and achieving cost savings. The identification and control of health and safety risks will pay in the long run. This approach can minimise accidents or injuries, reduce staff absence due to injury or health issues, so increasing productivity.
· Reducing the number of accidents and injuries leading to a reduction in liability costs.
· Improving staff morale. Workers who feel that their employer goes that extra mile to ensure their health and safety will work harder, increasing productivity. A happy workforce means a reduction in staff absences and staff turnover.
· Enhancing your corporate image. The fact that you go above and beyond compliance when taking care of your workforce means that your staff will talk about you as a good employer, a good company to work for. In this age of digital communication, the word will soon spread and your corporate image will be improved.
Going beyond compliance in health and safety is all about building a culture that engages the whole workforce in improving health and safety in the workplace.
Take the first steps towards going above and beyond compliance by doing the following:
· Review health and safety policies on a regular basis – this means that any new hazards can be identified early on and a risk management strategy can be entered into your health and safety procedures.
· Involve the workforce by implementing a reward system (rewards can be a £5 voucher, an extra day off, whatever would work best for your business). Rewards can be given for spotting a health and safety hazard and reporting it to the person responsible for managing health and safety. Rewards can also be given if the company (or department) goes three months without any minor incidents/injuries. Think of a system of rewards that is appropriate for your business and your workforce.
When accidents or injuries do occur ensure that a rigorous and proactive investigation takes place, identifying not only the direct cause of the accident but any other causal factors that could be changed in order to ensure that a similar incident does not recur in the future.