World Day for Safety and Health at Work
This dedicated day is aimed at making everyone, from employees to employers, aware of some of the challenges being faced worldwide and the need to have proper health and safety policies in place.
The first ever World Day for Safety and Health at Work took place in 2003, and the ILO has continued to build on its progress in championing everyone’s right to work in conditions of dignity, freedom, security and equality.
Every year, they pick a new theme, and this year the focus will be on occupational diseases which are the biggest cause of work-related deaths worldwide. Every day, 5,500 people die because of a work-related disease, many of which could have been prevented
The event has lots of supporters, from the United Nations to the NHS and the Health and Safety Executive, and is celebrated across the globe.
The date of 28 April is significant: it also happens to be the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers which the trade union movement has organised since 1996.
The ILO (which the UK is a founding member of) does hugely important work throughout the year to make workplaces safer and healthier, especially in developing countries which don’t have legislation in place to safeguard workers’ rights.Some may moan about stringent health and safety policies here in Britain, but they are there to protect everyone and we’re the envy of much of the world when it comes to how we treat our workers.
If you have any questions or are unsure about what the legislation means for your business, the Health and Safety Executive have created a clear guide to help you get to grips with your legal requirements.
How accidents can cost your business
The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health estimates that workplace accidents and compensation payments cost businesses almost £8 billion a year.
Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, you’ll still be affected by indirect costs. If the injured staff member chooses to leave, you’ll have to spend time recruiting and training someone new. You may even have to pay them sick pay and hire temporary staff to cover their workload. For a small business, this could be hugely disruptive.
It’s good practice to do a thorough audit of your equipment and health and safety practices and analyse how and why the incident happened even if this will take management away from doing seemingly more ‘productive’ work or add to your costs.
If it was your fault, you may have substantial legal fees to contend with.
What doesn’t get mentioned as much is the cost of the damage to a business’ reputation. You’ll have to work a lot harder to convince potential employees and customers that your working environment is safe and that you’re the sort of business that takes health and safety seriously.
With margins being squeezed, it’s understandable that you want your staff to be making money for you rather than going through health and safety training, but it could save you a whole lot of money in the long run.
How will you be marking World Day for Safety and Health at Work this month?