Six real horrors of health and safety

Tuesday October 26, 2021

We all like a good fright at Halloween, but nobody wants to be scared for the future of their business. Forget werewolves and vampires, more mundane horrors can be every bit as scary. From harm to employees to hefty fines, businesses ignore health and safety at their peril. Here are six real horrors to avoid this Halloween and into 2022.  

One – Harm to employees 

The most obvious danger of neglecting health and safety is the physical and mental harm that can come to employees. Around 140 UK workers are killed every year, and this is devastating for everyone involved. Less serious injuries can also have a significant effect on quality of life. Millions of UK employees suffer from back pain, and one in 50 have an ongoing repetitive strain injury (RSI) condition. Neglecting health and safety can cause occupational injuries such as these to flare up, leading to misery for your employees and disruption to your business.  

Two – Prosecution 

Health and safety laws are strictly enforced, and the punishments can be severe. HSE successfully prosecuted 325 cases last year, handing out a total of £35.7 million in fines. With an average fine of £110,000, neglecting health and safety can be an expensive mistake as well as a harmful one.  

Three – Reputational damage 

A prosecution doesn’t just cost you money. It can also cost you your reputation. In the age of social media, the negative publicity associated with an HSE prosecution could be disastrous. 

This is especially true in the post-pandemic world. The virus increased the public’s respect for key workers, and this has grown into a general concern for how all companies treat their employees. Over half of consumers will now avoid brands who do not take proper care of their staff. In this climate, a prosecution could undo years of hard work.  

Four – Disruption of operations 

Poor health and safety can be extremely disruptive to your business. There were 38 million working days lost to sickness and injury last year, costing UK businesses over £16 billion. Workplace injuries can be especially disruptive as they happen without warning, leaving you understaffed at short notice. This puts additional strain on remaining staff, making further accidents and injuries more likely.  

Five – Recruitment and retention issues 

With UK job vacancies at a record high, the balance of power has shifted in favour of employees. The younger generation takes well-being seriously, and you’ll need to do the same If you want to attract the best new talent. Neglecting health and safety, especially mental health, will make it more difficult to fill vacancies.  

The same goes for retaining existing colleagues. One in twenty UK workers are planning to switch jobs before the end of the year according to a survey from Totaljobs, and a poor health and safety policy will give them the perfect motive. It costs thousands of pounds to recruit and train a new employee, so it pays to show existing staff that you care about their health and safety.  

Six – Missing out on tender processes 

Proving your health and safety credentials is a key part of bidding for larger contracts. Competition is fierce, and many potential clients won’t even consider tender applications from companies who don’t have any official health and safety accreditation. A black mark on your health and safety record may rule you out of the most lucrative contracts, making it much harder to grow your business.  

Here to help 

When it comes to employee safety, prevention is always better than cure. A little preparation will go a long way to ensuring that your workplace remains accident-free this Halloween and indeed for the future. We’re always happy to help, so don’t hesitate to give us a call. 

Sensible Safety Solutions

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