For many businesses, maintaining a safe workplace is considered an ongoing challenge. Perhaps it’s time to think of it more as an opportunity for success. Both employers and employees benefit greatly from a comprehensive workplace health and safety program. Whether small, medium or large, a business that is consistently compliant with health and safety legislation, will empower the workforce, achieve business growth and reduce workplace accidents and exposures.
Worksafe BC is an excellent resource for developing a workplace health and safety program. The downloadable Due Diligence Check List is a must for employers establishing an Occupational Health and Safety Plan. Worksafe BC’s website also provides informative content that covers 15 major industries, including over 400 educational videos presenting workplace safety issues, accidents, injuries and recovery, and helpful tips for increasing health and safety standards across many industries.
Another valuable resource are the employees that perform the work each day. Engaging with employees during organized, workplace health and safety talks allows them to share their concerns and experience. The employees input will assist with fine tuning the health and safety program, giving employees “a voice” during the process. They will feel protected and motivated to ensure a safer workplace. That will be just one of several benefits of an effective health and safety program.
Reduce sick leave
Once industry-specific health and safety issues are addressed and a health and safety program is implemented, employers can expect to see happier and healthier employees taking fewer sick days. Fewer employee absences translates to money saved on the absent employees’ salaries, overtime incurred by employees covering for absent co-workers and indirect costs such as diminished services and product, quality and loss of business.
Save money on recruitment costs
Employee retention is the envy of many. Employers that take workplace health and safety seriously enjoy the benefits of lower staff turnover. Employees are a business’s greatest asset, and when employees feel safe and valued, they tend to stick around. A business that protects its greatest asset will spend far less money on recruiting and training costs than a business that isn’t health and safety compliant.
The two biggest reasons for employee absence are stress and accidents, and both can impact productivity and profits. An effective workplace health and safety program will help prevent accidents and reduce stress in the workplace. Happy, healthy and safety-conscious employees are more productive because they're able to perform their job with reduced difficulty and danger.
Lower workplace insurance costs
Reducing accidents and injury is key to lowering a business’s liability insurance rate. It’s important to remember that a health and safety program is designed to protect all people in the workplace, including contractors, temporary employees and visitors to the premises, but it doesn’t replace the need for liability insurance, a policy that most businesses require. If you have a workplace safety policy ensure your insurance agent is aware, as you may receive more favorable market rates. And if you feel you need to implement better policies let you Reliance agent know and we can help you find the right resources and do a risk management assesment.
A preventable accident causing injury or environmental damage is almost always newsworthy, thanks to the 24 hour news cycle. A negative news story can have a lasting effect on a business’s reputation, customer base and the sales column. A business with current, well- maintained workplace health and safety program is a business with a conscience that protects its employees like family members. More and more consumers are scrutinizing the businesses they choose to deal with based on how well the employees and the environment are treated.
Call in an workplace health and safety expert
There are specialized consultants at the ready to help employers create a safer workplace. British Columbia is home to multiple occupational health and safety consultants. These firms will guide employers through the health and safety program development process, provide training courses as well as conduct audits of current programs, ensuring an employer’s business is completely compliant with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation & Workers Compensation Act Legislation in British Columbia (WorkSafeBC). Consultants will also provide training in many areas: from bullying/ harassment training, new/young employee orientation training, to fall protection and asbestos awareness training. GG Health and Safety Consultants, of Brentwood Bay, BC, believes, “Working safely and in a safe environment must be a condition of employment; and safety education and safety training for employees is the fundamental key towards an effective health and safety program in BC.”
It’s possible that some employers think they are compliant simply because they are providing workers with safety gear such as protective glasses, helmets and gloves. However, there is more to it than that. A health and safety consultant takes safety to another level for accident and injury prevention.
Consulting firms also understand the importance of integrating safety with productivity. It may be worthwhile for businesses and employers to consider enlisting a health and safety consultant for a safe workplace, healthy employees and to ensure future business growth.
- Know about the rights and responsibilities for health and safety
- Meet first aid requirements
- Develop a health and safety program
- Manage risks in the workplace
- Ensure workers are trained and oriented
- Perform regular workplace inspections
- Establish and maintain a joint health and safety committee
- Investigate and report incidents
Safety Alliance BC
Occupational Health and Safety Regulation
Government of British Columbia: Employment standards and Workplace Safety