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GOOD HEALTH AND SAFETY IS GOOD BUSINESS!

For SMEs in particular it is difficult to keep a company afloat when accidents and injuries at work result in unexpected costs, long-term sickness absence, or even loss of valued employees. Prevention of accidents and improvement of working conditions have more benefits than just reducing damages.

Simple improvements, which necessarily do not have to be excensive or time consuming, can increase your company's competitiveness, profitability and the motivation of your workforce.

There is a variation in the so-called "workforce accident pattern" showing that:

  • Accidents in SMEs occur more often than in large companies
  • Accidents at night are more fatal that at other times of the day
  • Women have less accidents than men
  • Young workers have higher incident rate of accidents than older workers
  • Older workers have more fatal accidents than younger workers

By preventing work related accidents, injuries and diseases, you will not only reduce the unexpected costs, but your efforts in taking health and safety measures should;

  • meet your legal duty to protect your employees from suffering caused by accidents and poor health
  • reduce injuires and illnesses that leads to less sickness absence
  • optimize equipment and the working environment to the needs of the working process
  • benefit having more healthy, motivated and productive employees
  • produce at a higher quality
  • boost the productivety
  • improve your company's performance
  • help your company maintain its good reputation

6 KEY ELEMENTS FOR IMPLEMENTING SUCCESSFUL HEALTH AND SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS

Provide Health and Safety Information

  • Provide employees with your health and safety policy documents (written documentation)
  • Provide the employees' health and safety representatives with relevant literature and allow them to make copies of your documents on safety and health law (written documentation)
  • Provide employees with health and safety brochures
  • Provide new employees with health and safety information (written documentation)
  • Ensure that your employees know what to do when incidents occure (written documentation)
  • Fulfil your duty to keep an accident book and report accidents
  • Display posters of health and safety regulations
  • Display safety signs to warn people about specific hazards.
  • Display non-smoking signs on the entrance to your premises and in company vehicles (used by more than 1 person)
  • To ensure public safety, inform your employees which areas have restricted access for visitors and suppliers.
  • Forward regular reports on health and safety performance to the board 

Train your staff at all levels

Ensure effective training of your employees to make them competent in health and safety issues. Training and awareness will help your company to avoid accidents and unexpected costs associated with accidents and long-time sicness absence.

Ensure an efficient communication system from floor to top level

Involve your employees, your senior managers, and their health and safety representatives in your plans and activities for preventing serious damage performance, accidents and long-term sickness absence.

Delegate authority

Delegate authority for promotion of health and safety through senior management to directors and supervisory staff. The management of any company have obligations about protecting the staff under their care as well as themselves, and it is of utmost importance that all managers are aware of the health and safety requirements stipulated in all the legislations, as they in position of management or responsibility are representing the employer. 

Co-operate with your employees

Health and safety legislation requires employers and employees to co-operate. Who are more familiar with operations, waste management, production inputs, procurement, etc, than you employees! Turn the employees' experience to account to ensure that internal controls function properly. They represents valuable knowledge, and can contribute to a systematic review of all aspects of the company that also affect the external environment. You may also experience that the scope for conflicts of interest is limited when you and your employees are pulling together in the same direction.

Integrate health and safety in work processes

  • Find better ways to manage health and safety by looking carefull at the safety and welfare of your employees
  • Monitore sickness absence and workplace health
  • Allert the board to find underlying problems of sickness absence
  • Benchmark your company's performance against others in the same sector
  • Involve your employees directly in their own health and safety monitoring
  • Forward regular reports on health and safety performance to the board
  • Arrange at least once a year, a formal health and safety boardroom review in order to examine whether the current health and safety policy reflects the company's plans, targets and priorities.

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