Why is health and safety important in the workplace?

25 June 2021

You should not underestimate the importance of health and safety in the workplace. All businesses ought to practice good health and safety, minimising work-related injuries.

Employers who don’t comply with health and safety legislation are liable to prosecution and can face fines, business disruptions, and even imprisonment.

This guide highlights the importance of health and safety procedures in the workplace. And also outlines why health and safety rules are important for protecting workers’ wellbeing and avoiding financial consequences.

What is health and safety in the workplace?

Health and safety are measures employers must take protect the mental and physical wellbeing of workers and non-workers.

The Health and Safety at Work Act protects employees, customers, and visitors in your premises. Ideally, employers aim to eliminate or significantly prevent accidents happening in the workplace.

A lack of consideration for health and safety can increase absenteeism and negligence claims, affecting workplace productivity and morale. It also leads to injuries, long-term illnesses, and possibly death – consequently showing how important is safety in the workplace. 

Why is health and safety important in the workplace?

We lose millions of workdays every year because of work-related illnesses, injuries, and accidents. The Health and Safety Executive reports that work-related illness affected 1.6 million workers in 2019 – costing the economy an estimated £16.2 billion.

Employers should observe why health and safety is important, and the consequences if ignored. Affected employees could face:

  • Losing wages.
  • Long-term effects on health and wellbeing.
  • Medical expenses.
  • Possible unemployment.

And employers could face:

  • Fines and compensation claims.
  • Damaged work equipment.
  • Loss of profit and reputation.

Why do we have health and safety legislation?

The purpose of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is to highlight the duty of care employers have for anyone involved in their business. The law outlines why do we need health and safety in the workplace. And how to take a ‘reasonably practical’ approach for preventing risks.

Employers should not expect an employee to risk ‘life and limb’ as a condition of employment. It is unacceptable to place workers in situations where their health and safety is at risk.

The legal rulings outline why we have a health and safety act for workers. Employers can keep legally compliant by promoting these moral practises which can lead to:

  • Increase in workers’ retention.
  • Increase in staff morale.
  • Lower recruitment costs.
  • Growth in business production and profits.
  • Reduced insurance payments.

How can I promote good health and safety practises in my business?

Employers are responsible for identifying risks and setting control measures to minimise workplace accidents. 

From the importance of a safety policy to H&S training, they all help promote general duties for workplace health and safety. Here are some methods for promoting health and safety practises in the workplace.

Introduce a written health and safety policy

The HSW Act states you must possess a written H&S policy if you employ five or more workers. It’s good business practice to have the policy anyway, even if you employ less.

The policy should contain:

  • A general declaration for H&S.
  • Management of H&S in the workplace.
  • Assigned responsibility for control measures.
  • Methods to reduce or eliminate risks.

Health and safety policies, along with all other business policies, should be annually reviewed or more often when necessary.

Health and safety training

Under the Management of Health and Safety at work Regulations 1999, employers are legally obliged to deliver workplace health and safety training to all workers. Employers should especially provide training for new starters, outlining why is workplace safety important.

You should also have training courses, risk assessments, and safety programs, especially when introducing new policies or work methods. Like when using new equipment, or working in new areas, etc.

Health and safety equipment

Having the right health and safety equipment can significantly reduce direct injuries and impacts. Equipment can range from guards and shields for dangerous equipment to personal protective equipment (PPE).

Ensure that H&S equipment is available for your workers whilst using them during relevant tasks. You should also have correct signage and training for the equipment, reducing the chance of risks and accidents.

Health and safety culture

Try to build a workplace culture that promotes why health, safety, and security is important in the workplace. Employers should lead by example and encourage safe working practices.

By taking a proactive method for health and safety, your work relations will strengthen, and workers will see you as a caring and reliable employer.

Peninsula provides expert advice on health and safety in the workplace

The workplace itself can host a multitude of accidents and injuries. So, it is vital that you conduct good health and safety practises, carry out appropriate training and control risk measures.

Focusing on employee health, safety and welfare at work will lead to a positive effect on business productivity and workforce morale.

Peninsula offers expert employment health and safety advice. And can help create risk assessment and safety training perfect for your business.

Peninsula clients also get access to 24/7 HR consultation for safe working requirements. And if you are not yet a client, you can still enjoy free advice from one of our business experts. Simply call us on 0800 028 2420.

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