Small businesses make safety pay

Whilst David Cameron is busy waging war on what he calls Britain’s health and safety “monster”, more enlightened directors of SMEs are increasingly aware of the importance of health and safety and the business benefits that can arise from establishing a good reputation for managing it well. A 2006 HSE study found that whatever the original motivation for improving health and safety performance, all of the SMEs studied perceived wider benefits both tangible and intangible. One such director is quoted saying “The benefits to our business of revolutionising our health and safety systems and placing it at the heart of what we do are very extensive. Not only do we now have higher staff morale and lower sickness, it also significantly benefits the retention of existing customers, and it is a real differentiator when winning new business and helping the company to expand” More recently, IOSH’s ‘Safety in numbers?’ survey, underlined just how good for business health and safety interventions can be. Of the 1001 SME decision makers who took part, one in seven were able to pinpoint financial gains of more than £1000 for their businesses. Furthermore, 31 per cent felt better health and safety management would result in higher productivity, 26 per cent said it would improve staff retention, and 20 per cent believed it would lead to increased business for their companies. The fact is that all businesses, large and small, are subject to the same health and safety regulations dependent upon what it is they do. This is unlikely to change. The problem lies less with the regulations themselves and more with the way they...

The importance of communication

The importance of communication in health and safety cannot be over-stated. To business leaders, if health and safety is important to you, you need to communicate the fact so that employees get the message and it becomes important to them too. There are often 3 interrelated methods of communication in play within organisations: – a. written communications in the form of policies, procedures etc; b. verbal communications – what you say; and c. visible communications – what you do. Often, it’s the visible communication that senior managers find the toughest. There’s little point in saying that nothing comes before the safety of your people and that they’re your highest priority, if you don’t then follow through. Relegating the importance of health and safety when it’s expedient to do so, sends the strongest message of all and is often the reason why employees think you don’t care – even when you say you do. But even when you really do care, getting it right isn’t easy. Central to getting it right is having a competent source of advice and assistance on health and safety. If you really do care but you regularly find you can’t follow through on the advice you’re receiving, it could be you’re getting the wrong...

Health and safety vision statement

Whatever the stage of your health and safety development, the importance of communication in health and safety cannot be over-stated. This is particularly true for those looking for an improvement in their health and safety performance. The ability to describe the future you desire in terms that employees can understand is a crucially important part of change management. It helps people visualise the journey you want them to take and helps ensure the decisions they make are consistent with the journey, rather than counter-productive to it. At Securus Health & Safety we have developed a simple format for a health and safety vision statement. It describes the future at one, three and five-yearly intervals in various terms e.g. accident performance, legal compliance and cultural development. Not only is it an important public commitment, it is crucial to the health and safety planning process, enabling the business to identify the tactical and structural changes that may need to be made in order that it can reach its...