Health and safety (H&S) often finds itself on the receiving end of jokes and gags. To many it’s viewed as just another form of red tape.
But despite “’elf and safety’s” jobsworth reputation, it’s crucial to keep your employees safe and prevent work-related injuries from occurring.
The HSE (Health & Safety Executive) is fighting to reclaim the term – they have even taken to Twitter to debunk some of the myths. Here, they make it clear that many of the ludicrous decisions that are blamed on health and safety are, in fact, nothing to do with them.
A prime example from the Twitter feed was when the Daily Mail reported that, due to H&S, a young girl had been put into isolation at school for having beads in her hair. The HSE tweeted, “'H&S regulations’ for beaded hair? @DailyMailUK are you sure? #bustedmyth”.
The HSE also had their say when the Nuneaton Tribune claimed that council workers who operate in dusty conditions are required to be clean shaven to comply with health and safety regulations. HSE sent a tweet saying “These 'new' rules have existed for years to prevent inhalation when working with dust and asbestos etc. #bustedmyth”
Taking health and safety seriously has major benefits for businesses, such as reduced costs, lower employee absenteeism, less likelihood of legal action, improved reputation of employee care and corporate responsibility, and (through all that) higher levels of productivity.
In 2015/16, over 30 million working days were lost as a direct result of workplace-related injuries. So not only will your employees benefit from health and safety rules, so will your business. Win-win.
And if you get it wrong?
There is the risk of fines, compensation and even jail. In 2016 alone, £61m of fines were paid out, and penalties for businesses with a turnover of more than £50 million can receive fines as high as £10 million for health and safety offences.
We have a dedicated health and safety team at The HR Dept, so if you need help with this important area, get in touch.