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Looking after your staff is not just a legal obligation, it makes good business sense too

In any business, staff are one of the key assets and they play a vital role in the ongoing success of a firm. Workers develop new skills and expertise over time and can use this knowledge to work more effectively and produce ideas that support service improvement. A highly motivated workforce will be able to deliver tasks and projects to the highest levels of quality, allowing the business to perform effectively.

However, it’s important to recognise that in any workplace, staff must be able to operate in a safe and comfortable environment. Managers and senior staff must take all reasonable steps to protect employees as they undertake their tasks. Typically, this will involve identifying risks and hazards in the workplace and taking remedial action to eradicate them or minimize their impact.

While adhering to health and safety legislation is mandatory in most countries, it’s important to understand that all systems that look after staff have tangible value to the business. This article will explore worker safety and staff welfare concepts, demonstrating that such measures can also add value to a business.

Robust health and safety can reduce staff sickness and accidents

Firstly, it’s important to understand that hazardous working environments can increase the likelihood of days lost to staff sickness and time off after a worker has been injured in an accident in the workplace. In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive estimated that 35.2 million working days were lost due to worker-related illness and non-fatal accidents in the workplace. These lost working days reduce the productivity and efficiency of any firm and can lead to delays in task completion.

Common accidents at work include slips, trips and falls, and manual handling injuries. Many of these can be prevented with effective staff training and robust health and safety systems. All staff should undertake basic manual handling training as part of their onboarding, with refresher training being rolled out annually.

Health and safety teams should undertake risk assessments of the working environment to proactively identify areas that may pose hazards to staff. These risks should then be managed or ideally removed. Staff must also be able to alert managers to risks and hazards that they have witnessed and be confident that the matter will be investigated. In short, robust health and safety practices can play an integral role in improving safety in the workplace, leading to fewer working days lost and higher levels of productivity.

Staff can be removed from dangerous environments by using drones

In some working environments, especially in factories or heavy industries, staff may be required to work at height. Typically, human staff are required to inspect structures and machinery or monitor potentially hazardous equipment. In these circumstances, they may be exposed to the risk of injury if they come into contact with machinery or sustain a fall from height.

Thankfully, in recent years, many firms have removed such risks by deploying drones instead of human staff. Remotely operated drones can play a key role in monitoring and inspecting structures and equipment. They can cover ground quickly and can work at height with no risk of injury to a human worker. It’s anticipated that this technology will become more widely used across industries as the safety benefits are increasingly realised.

Comprehensive training will reduce staff turnover

It’s also important to recognise that looking after your staff is more than just providing a safe working environment and robust health and safety systems. Comprehensive staff training programmes should be considered in the context of staff welfare as they can motivate and upskill your workforce. Many staff will wish to develop skills and specialist knowledge during their career so they can secure more senior positions and benefit from personal development.

By offering staff comprehensive training programmes that lead to improved career prospects, you’ll be more likely to retain your best and brightest workers. This can be a key way to reduce staff turnover, as workers will be more likely to build a career with your firm that spans many years. This, in turn, will lead to lower recruitment costs, allowing companies to save money and not need to spend extra time onboarding and training staff.

 Recognising the importance of incident reporting

As a brief final point, all companies should ensure that they have a robust incident reporting system for accidents, identified hazards, and near misses. Staff should be able to report incidents and be assured that the health and safety team will thoroughly investigate them.

Companies should store all incident reports on a risk management database. This will allow them to create reports and statistics with the company data, spotting patterns and highlighting frequently occurring risks. Ongoing actions can then be taken to eliminate certain risks from the workplace or mitigate the impact of any potential hazards.

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