There is growing evidence in business of the returns from investment in workplace safety and health.  For example the International Social Security Association, estimates a 120 per cent dividend, and the ratio is even higher for return-to-work programmes for people following injury or illness.

Organisations that invest in health and safety are seeing a positive impact on their workers’ effectiveness and a range of business benefits, such as a positive, caring work culture, increased productivity and an enhanced reputation. These employers are also mitigating the risk of huge costs to their organisation and society as a whole of poor health and safety at work – a recent report estimated the total cost to society of a workplace fatality in Britain at nearly £1.7 million.

In 2019–20, IOSH partnered with market research specialists YouGov to survey mainly small and medium-sized businesses, excluding any sole traders, on their approach to ensuring their managers have the knowledge, skills and understanding to manage their teams safely.

Participants agreed (96 per cent) that: Line managers are important in ensuring the people they directly line manage are safe and healthy, in the workplace.  That being said one in five participants (19 per cent), and predominantly SMEs (companies with up to 250 employees), said they had no form of health and safety training at all for their line managers.

There is a natural hierarchy in organisations that gets more defined the more employees an organisation has and co-workers at each tier of a business have an important role to play in creating work culture that protects its people. In smaller organisations (companies) directors and or managers can find themselves fulfilling many management roles and responsibilities across this hierarchy.

A truism however in all organisations, no matter their size, is that ‘responsibility for risk’ lies with the decision makers.  Those who decide on workplace design, the equipment provided, how it is to be used (systems of work) and how well people are to be educated to do the tasks safely (safe people), are managers. It is fundamental: the decisions of every manager influence the safety, health and welfare of all. They must take ownership for this.  The final accountability lies with Directors, so organisational structure and delegated authorities are an important aspect of this picture.

Whether they are a director, middle manager or first line supervisor, all are taking daily decisions that affect the health, safety and welfare of employees, contractors, suppliers, customers and even the public.  These are not the same responsibilities but related to the responsibility of their role and hierarchical position.  The nature of their responsibility is different for each.  To be efficient and effective they all require a knowledge about health and safety risk, and its control.  Get it wrong and it’s costly.  Get it right and it can bring brand, reputation, productivity and even investment benefits.

Competence is the key to running any business well or performing in any role with confidence and skill.  Knowledge results from experience, but too often it’s the school of hard knocks that delivers this learning and when it comes too health and safety that usually means someone has been harmed, which is morally unforgivable.  Good health and safety training can boost knowledge to a level that not only facilitates prevention of accidents but also drives business benefits.  The problem is that a lack of health and safety knowledge reduces confidence and often results in needlessly stringent controls being implemented that can introduce unhelpful bureaucracy and diminish business performance. The right training can help find the happy balance ……….. Delivering a safe operation with healthy employees is simple when you know how…

Here at Goldcross Training we are specialists in the delivery of the IOSH Managing Safely course so why not give us a call to see how we can help you improve your health and safety knowledge and assist you in driving your business forward.

You can read the full IOSH/YouGov report here.