Workplaces can be dangerous environments and there can be hazards at every turn. Having robust health and safety measures is important for every business as the implications can be far-reaching if you don’t.
Why Is Health And Safety Important?
Health and safety plays an important role in the workplace for a number of different reasons:
- Keeps employees and visitors safe,
- Fewer injuries which leads to better productivity,
- Improve the image of the company,
- Minimise legal liabilities.
In the UK 1.7 million workers suffered a work-related illness in 2020/2021 which is estimated to cost the economy £16.2 billion. Whilst the impact on individual businesses is smaller, there will still be a relative impact on their productivity, profits and employee administration.
What Are The UK Health And Safety Regulations?
For management, the main piece of legislation to follow is The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. This outlines how an employer should assess risks, provide correct information and training on health and safety, and have a written health and safety policy.
When it comes to your physical workplace environment, there are guidelines laid out in The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. This focuses on adequate lighting, heating and ventilation, as well as staff facilities.
If you work somewhere where you use screens a lot, then the relevant legislation is The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. This goes through how to keep workers safe when using screens including screen breaks, appropriate set up, and providing eye tests and health checks regularly when appropriate.
There are many other pieces of legislation that are based around health and safety as well, with the intention of keeping workplaces as safe as possible for all.
Cost Of Poor Health And Safety
There are far-reaching consequences for failing to meet the health and safety standards. From a financial standpoint, a business can be fined for health and safety breaches. Penalties can be between £5,000 and £20,000 if the case is taken to a magistrates court but there is no limit if tried in the Crown Court. Jail sentences are also possible for serious offenders.
Injuries and illnesses can have a big impact on the internal work environment. People taking time off of work affects their colleagues as they will have to pick up the shortfall. Overall, days off cost the business in terms of productivity and therefore profit.
Employees who have suffered an injury due to a workplace accident may decide to invoke legal action against their employer. This can cost the business a lot in terms of time, money, and stress. If you have been the victim of an accident at work, you can work out how much you could claim in compensation using an online calculator.