This Scorecard is due to be updated in 2018
Businesses have a recognised responsibility to ensure employee well-being and safety in the workplace. Beyond this ethical and legal duty, a commitment to taking active steps to create and uphold a health and safety strategy can lead to fewer absences, improved staff retention, higher morale and higher productivity. This point is reiterated by the European Network for Workplace Health promotion who state that workplace health promotion leads to benefits for employee and firm when it emphasises increasing workers’ participation in shaping the working environment, and when it provides the opportunity for individuals to develop personal as well as professional skills. A health and safety policy can also provide protection for both employer and employees should a dispute arise related to injury or illness.
Health and safety is relevant to all places of work. Health risks include poor lifting techniques, incorrect handling of materials and working in noisy environments. Working at a computer with poor set-up, for long hours and under very tight deadlines, and in a stressful environment are also health risks. Safety risks might include slips, trips and falls, poorly maintained facilities and equipment, and working with heavy machinery. Notwithstanding the human cost of illness or injury, prevention is certainly better than cure: it is much more efficient to implement practices and policy to protect health, maintain safety and prevent accidents than it is to pay the costs of absence and sickness and risk the loss of business.
Strategies for promoting health and safety may include:
● Evaluating and assessing health and safety risks regularly
● Training and educating staff at induction itself in safe work practices and health promotion so they can implement it as part of their occupational health practice
● Inspecting and monitoring company safety performance
● Improving operations to remove and reduce the possibility of work-related injuries or sickness
● Reviewing health and safety at management level
● Enabling healthy choices in the work environment such as refreshments/canteens that provide nourishing refreshments and allowing active breaks in between work
● Ensuring appropriate work arrangements such as appropriate lighting, seating and ventilation
● Assigning responsibility for health and safety to a named individual.