Health and safety is about to get personal.
Addressing safety and health issues in the workplace can save you money and add value to your business. Recent estimates from the Health and Safety Executive place the business costs associated with occupational injuries and work-related ill health at close to £3 billion annually.
It is important to know how these numbers affect your business. Those expenses for on-the-job injuries and illnesses come straight out of your company’s profits and affect your bottom line.
Protection for you and your business
In the event of a fine, employers’ liability insurance will help your business cover the cost of compensation. However executives can be personally exposed to covering legal costs and settlement awards, directors and officers insurance is designed to protect you if this should happen. But the way fines are allocated could be about to change. Your direct personal involvement, as senior manager, in the health and safety culture of your business could determine your pay.
Performance related pay
As part of the government’s corporate governance reform green paper, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health IOSH has recommended that organisations link pay and bonuses for executive staff to occupational safety and health performance. The agency believes that this could be an especially effective incentive, since the number of prosecutions against directors tripled in 2016.
Positive and proactive leadership
The IOSH’s recommendations aim to bring about positive change to your business regardless of industry or sector. The goal is to incentivise you, as a senior manager to be the figurehead for a safe working environment and make health and safety a priority by embedding it as part of your corporate culture.
By taking a proactive approach with the implementation of a “safe culture” action plan, you could be eligible for an IOSH Certificate of Merit. Such an award would recognise positive leadership behaviour and help to secure your personal income in the future.
Attending approved IOSH Leading Safety and IOSH Managing Safety courses will teach you to identify and address risks. Accident Investigation courses would also help you to prevent recurrence of accidents.
You can also use the services of a health and safety consultant. The consultant would act as your ‘competent person’. They can carry out audits, put in place bespoke health and safety policies and risk assessments and prioritised action plans. As an extension to your team, they can be on hand to support and assist you on any health and safety issues as and when they arise.
Preparation is key
Even if the incentive does not come into force, senior managers still have to ensure that their health and safety practices are comprehensive. Failure to do so could result in fines and / or possible imprisonment.
In summary, there are practical steps you can take to ensure that you provide a safe working environment. You should consider –
- A robust risk management strategy.
- Approved IOSH training for senior staff.
- Encouraging a safe culture – posters and regular communications can help with this.
- Hiring a health and safety consultant.
- Engaging with staff to address their safety concerns
- Having the correct insurances.
This combination will provide you with the confidence that your business, your staff and your back pocket will be safe now and in to the future. If you could benefit from some independent advice why not get in touch with your NAPIT Insurance team on 0845 421 2528 to see how they can help you.
Zywave HSE Safety Cornerstones April 2017
Zywave Risk Insights Benefit your business
*British Safety Council – The business benefits of health and safety 2014