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How safe is your workplace?

How safe is your workplace?

One of the most prominent risks found in our UK Business Risk Report 2022 is the health and safety of your workforce, with one-third (33%) of respondents identifying it as a key concern.

Regular health and safety inspections are recommended to help minimise the risk of sustaining an injury while at work. Especially those operating in high-risk sectors inundated with hazards such as construction, manufacturing and agriculture.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Office of National Statistics (ONS) and Labour Force Survey (LFS), there were:1

1.7 million work-related ill health cases (new or long-standing) in 2020/21. 123 workers killed at work (2021/22).  822,000 workers suffering work-related stress, depression or anxiety.
 51,211 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR. 93,000 workers suffering from COVID-19 which they believe may have been due to exposure to coronavirus at work. 470,000 workers suffering from work-related musculoskeletal disorder.

 

These figures highlight that there are still areas to be improved upon to prevent fatalities, injuries and ill health. And emphasise the importance of managing risk and promoting behaviours to improve the standard of health and safety practices in the workplace. So what can you do?

Safety incentive programmes

An incentive programme recognises workers for reporting injuries, illnesses, near misses, or hazards. To make yours successful:

Do

  • Understand the importance of recognition rather than reward. Encouraging safe behaviour does not have to stem from cash rewards. Repeated recognition from superiors is more personal and meaningful than tangible reward schemes. Use rewards as an icing on the cake.
  • Set high standards from the beginning so that best-practices are part of your company culture. Everyone from managers to the CEO must be fully involved in creating a safety-first culture. Employees will not buy into a programme if they see management not treating it seriously.
  • Commit appropriate time and money to the programme. Make sure you have enough resources to support the programme or your employees will perceive it as poorly thought out.
  • Involve employees in the process. Often front line employees will notice more hazards than management may do. Receive their suggestions when implementing a scheme to encourage their full participation.
  • Be sure that everyone has an equal chance at to be recognised or not everyone will buy into your scheme.

Don’t

  • Focus on the reward only. Encourage a culture of safety first and educate your employees about best-practice standards.
  • Focus on injury numbers only. Programmes based solely on reducing injury rates could discourage employees from reporting near misses and inaccurate reporting. Instead, focus on encouraging programmes that inspire safety conscious behaviours.
  • Use programmes in isolation. They are most effective alongside a full safety programme including training and meetings.
  • Make it complicated. Programmes are there to make your workplace as safe as possible for your employees. Do not limit this by making them hard to use or unclear, or you risk discouraging people from using it fully.
  • Expect the programme to run itself. Get a mixture of employees and management to run the scheme or risk it running out of steam.

Remember that safety incentive programmes should not be about paying people off but recognition and motivation for making welfare a top priority in the workplace.

Attend approved training courses to identify and address risks

Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) training

The best way to achieve health and safety training success is to get people fully involved, having fun and learning by doing. (IOSH) training aims to bring about positive change to your business regardless of industry or sector. Attending approved IOSH Leading Safety and IOSH Managing Safety courses will teach you to identify and address risks. Accident Investigation courses could also help you to prevent recurrence of accidents - find out more.

Hire a health and safety expert

Whilst you’re busy running your business, it can be challenging to find time to investigate the health and safety risks you face and put the measures in place to protect against them. That's where a health and safety expert can help.

Our health and safety experts will understand your business's core risks and needs by carrying out a compliance gap analysis. We'll then work with you to develop and implement a robust health and safety risk management action plan.

We'll take care of the essential administrative tasks: policy writing, risk assessments, facilitating discussions etc., to keep you on track to achieving your goals so you can focus on running your business. Find out more.

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Sources:

1. hse.gov.uk/statistics/

You've had your say, the results are in...

Employee mental health and wellbeing, financial uncertainty and health and safety revealed as top risks in our UK Business Risk Report.