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.
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.