• Corporate responsibility hinges on effective safety, health, environmental and quality (SHEQ) management
  • Behaviours and use of Business Information tools impact the bottom line
  • Risk awareness and proactive safety decisions reduce the likelihood of injury and damage, save time, protect reputation and avoid legal action
  • Spreadsheets and paper systems suppress information, cause poor decision-making, increase costs and delay action
  • SHEQ management software saves money through reduced insurance premiums, reduced lost time, and reduced staff turnover, recruitment and re-training

 

Media nowadays – both social and mainstream – abound with stories about the “nanny state” and how risk management and health and safety are used as a “get-out” for organisations to shut things down.  Recently a magician at a Magic Circle event in a town was planning to recreate a Russian Roulette gun spectacle.  It was reportedly banned by the local council on safety grounds, despite the fact that the gun fires blanks, and the barrel points upwards, not in-line, so there IS no danger to anyone.  It’s an illusion.  But the “health and safety” excuse was rolled out, and the breath-taking spectacle was denied to the crowd.

So that’s the pendulum swung one way.  The other direction, however, is much less frivolous, and deserves our full attention and support.  Workers have the right to go home to their loved ones, safe and healthy at the end of their work day.  Period.  And organisations have a legal and moral obligation to make sure this happens.

The Statistics

According to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), an estimated 626,000 people had an accident at work in 2017/18, of which 144 were killed, and 135,000 resulted in more than 7 days off work.  In addition, 100 members of the public were killed due to work related activities.

These statistics make gruesome reading, although huge progress has been made in the last few decades.  Organisations are focusing on a holistic approach, embracing safety, health, environmental and quality (SHEQ) management as part of their corporate responsibility.

Risk management going forward

An ongoing task is to maintain momentum as a new, younger and unaware generation join the workforce, maintaining SHEQ management cultures and awareness, through training and business intelligence tools to shine a light on where the risks truly lie.

So, a risk awareness culture makes sense – to prevent injury, illness and collateral damage – and from a business perspective.  Investing in a robust SHEQ management system is the most efficient way to achieve this.  You might be wondering what the tangible business benefits might be – there are numerous advantages of effective risk management that will benefit your bottom line.

A good risk management track record = attractive to do business with

In times of economic uncertainty, Directors must do all they can to make their organisations attractive.  If a business can show corporate responsibility and a respect for their duty of care to staff and quality output, this fosters a reputation as an ethical firm to do business with and plays a positive role in decision making by customers – and also helps to win tenders for larger contracts.  There is also a reduced risk of staff turnover if people feel respected and cared for, which reduces the costs of staff leaving, then endless recruitment and repeated training of new staff.

Standardised safety management processes = reduced duplication of effort

Time is money.  When things go wrong, it takes time to sort out, so it’s a costly mistake.  A risk management system that works saves time – centralised data can be shared, so a Risk Assessment for a task can be drafted once, then shared electronically to everyone that needs it in future.  Embedded Business Intelligence (BI) tools show the high-risk factors in real time, so setting up corrective actions means mistakes can be avoided, saving time and money sorting out the mess.  Duplicate this over multiple sites using integrated BI tools, and the cost savings from efficiencies are huge.

Demonstrating managed risks = reduced insurance premiums

When insurers are assessing risk, there are numerous factors they consider – the obvious ones being the nature of the business’ activities, and associated risks to individuals, business premises and assets.  The greater the perceived risk, the greater the premium.  Conversely, when an organisation demonstrates good use of EHS risk management tools delivering robust processes and awareness, along with achievement of ISO certifications, the risks are mitigated, so the premiums are reduced.

Reduced Incidents = reduced costs of lost time

In the unfortunate event that a worker is off sick after an injury, or illness caused by their work, there are unavoidable costs to a business from lost time that may go unrecognised.  While that person is off sick, their job may be covered by a co-worker through overtime, or an extra employee to cover their absence, as well as sick leave pay or compensation.  All this expenditure could have been avoided if the incident had been prevented.

Identifying and fixing problems = reduced risk of legal action

Since around 2016, courts in England have been vastly increasing the amounts of fines and costs handed out to firms that fall foul of the law.  The UK’s HSE are not slow to prosecute, so it makes sense to do everything possible to reduce the likelihood of a catastrophic incident, before it’s too late.  And it’s not just the pain of fines – court action interrupts business continuity, and ruins careers, destroying businesses and reputations.  Not to mention the compensation payouts awarded to those caught up in the catastrophe.  And with the power of social media, there’s not much that stays in the shadows.  Using SHEQ management tools appropriately, along with investment in consultancy and training, reduces the risk to your bottom line.

Employee engagement = early warning before disaster strikes

An efficient SHEQ management system hinges on effective employee engagement.  Growing your culture of ethics, safety and respect for other people and the environment is done by removing barriers to reporting incidents, accidents and hazards and giving easy access to central information – this is what a cloud-based Portal delivers.  The more engaged your people are in taking care of their work space and each other, the more likely your organisation is to maintain a healthy, safe and productive work environment.

Dashboard reporting = improved visibility and decision making

Excel spreadsheets?  Drawers of paper files?  Despite this technological age, there’s a tendency to want to stick to the way it’s always been done.  But spreadsheets and paper documents suppress information, and slow things down.  An integrated SHEQ management system has BI tools – dashboards showing analysis of data, with real-time insights as things change.  With full visibility of where your issues are arising, you can make informed decisions and focus resources, avoiding delay, saving time and money.

All in all, with ever-increasing use of cloud-based risk management services linked via mobile devices, businesses are perfectly placed to enjoy effective SHEQ management, with the return on investment making good business sense on so many levels.

Find out more about online SHEQ, health and safety and risk management tools.

 

Riskex is pleased to support European Week for Safety and Health at Work, which this year is focussed on the topic of creating safe workspaces for people of all ages, across all European states.

An Ageing Workforce

By 2030, workers aged 55–64 are expected to make up 30% or more of the workforce in many European countries.  With the changes to default retirement ages, increased life expectancy, and the rise of the State Pension age, the number of older workers has been steadily on the rise.

There are age-related myths to be dispelled, and this HSE web page has some useful facts, as well as guidance about factors to consider for creating a healthy and safe work environment for older people.

Guidance page:   HSE Guidance For Older Workforce

 

Young People Joining The Workforce

At the other end of the spectrum, young people under 18 are an increasing feature, either as employees, for work experience or as apprentices. The issues are unique to this age group, and the HSE’s web page below explains what employers need to consider in order to establish young people safely in their organisation.

Guidance page:   HSE Guidance For Young Workers

An estimated two thirds of UK businesses may be in breach of basic health and safety laws and are putting their employees in danger, according to research.

A survey of companies with 5 employees or more was conducted with 2,000 people, and found that 65% of them haven’t received any information about their company’s health and safety policies – despite this being a legal requirement.

The research conducted by WorkMobile, also revealed that even when workers were provided with written health and safety guidance, the information didn’t fully explain the risks.

27 per cent of staff who had received and read their company’s health and safety manual thought it didn’t go into enough detail about their role and the dangers they could face, or how to deal with risky situations.

As a result, the majority of workers don’t feel they are well equipped to deal with a hazardous situation if one occurred. 20 per cent would have no idea how to report an issue or hazard at work, while 32 per cent only have a vague idea about how to handle the situation, but would still need to ask for help or consult with the company’s procedure documents first. That’s over 50% of people not fully equipped to deal with a situation.

Despite UK health and safety laws being constantly updated in order to keep them accurate and relevant, 13 per cent of employees said their company’s safety handbook has never been updated since they first received it. Perhaps more worrying is that 31 per cent don’t think their handbook ever needs to be updated.

So, in light of these rather startling facts, what can companies do to give staff the tools to stay safe? Increasing awareness of employee wellbeing is encouraging companies to grow their safety culture, with individuals taking more personal responsibility for their own, and others’, safety.

With the vast availability of IT in our lives, we can enjoy instant access to the latest information – particularly relevant in the workplace, using a cloud-based data solution. It takes management leadership and vision to invest in employee wellbeing, supplying the tools and encouraging the change.

AssessNET’s Portal is the ideal gateway for people to access a company’s Health and Safety data. Using an instant access link button placed on their computer device screen, staff and contractors can view information from the main AssessNET system (such as Risk Assessments), report incidents and hazards for corrective action, and view specific policies and guidance in a read-only format.

This is all achieved without the need to log in with a password to the central AssessNET system – meaning greater transparency and flexibility across the whole organisation, encouraging a culture of collective responsibility for Risk Management.

The research statistics make worrying reading, but by using a system such as AssessNET, with its Portal facility, it is clear that the issues the survey raised could be easily addressed.

So, with all this in mind, how does your company measure up? Are you doing enough to be legally compliant? Portal is the tool to connect everyone to Health and Safety. Call us to discuss AssessNET’s Portal and how it can help give your people the tools to stay safe.

 

Learn more about AssessNET’s Portal