Policies put into effect since then have resulted in a decrease in costs to £14 billion in 2009/2010, but this is still a massive annual burden and, just as the country cannot afford it, so individual organizations and companies cannot afford their share of it either. In 2009/10, employers bore 22% of these costs, paying for sick pay premiums, insurance premiums, administrative and legal costs, and the costs of disruption to their businesses.
Beyond the moral duty of care to protect employees in the workplace, employers have a responsibility to abide by specific legal requirements and, given the costs involved with workplace accidents and ill health, there are also strong economic imperatives to implement optimum health and safety procedures. In other words, informed provisions for health and safety makes good business sense, especially in a competitive marketplace. Having the right procedures in place could save money and time.
Where Does the Responsibility Lie?
Individuals are encouraged to look after their own workplace safety and health, and appropriate safety training has helped many people to recognize the need to report potential hazards or request safety equipment or protective clothing when their job warrants this.
All managers, not just health and safety officers, have a duty to implement safety procedures and, naturally, access to training will assist with the process of designing and carrying out essential tasks such as hazard audits and risk assessments.
Ultimately, the employer is responsible for ensuring that the necessary procedures are in place and that personnel have acquired sufficient skills through adequate training to protect the workforce and to promote health and safety at work
Common Workplace Hazards
Slips, falls and trips are the most common sort of workplace accident. Uneven floor surfaces, badly lit steps or corridors, and untidy and unsafe cables can also cause problems. In some environments electricity can cause injuries and death, as can malfunctioning equipment, especially those containing pressurized liquid or gas.
Hazardous substances, such as asbestos, fumes, some chemicals, bacteria and dust, can all lead to illness, as can faulty air conditioning. Excessive noise levels can endanger hearing, and computer users can suffer eye problems and physical strain. These are just some examples; accidents associated with shift work, transport and manual handling of heavy goods are also common.
Nowadays, especially with so many accidents resulting in claims for compensation, employers and employees need the right attitude and the right knowledge to work safely and deal proactively with workplace health issues. Proper training in the basics is essential. A reputable health and safety course can deliver this, plus additional, particular training related to specified, individual tasks. The learning outcomes of a good course will pay impressive dividends in terms of the well being and protection afforded by the safe and healthy workplace.