Do you find yourself overwhelmed by Health and Safety (H&S) in the workplace? You’re probably not the only one. Although it may seem confusing to begin with, Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) is extremely valuable and is rightly being incorporated into more and more workplaces around the world.
For that reason, it’s important to break it down and begin to understand exactly what Occupational Health and Safety is, and why it’s so important. In today’s article, we’ll explain exactly what EH&S is, how everybody can benefit from it, and why some of the safety courses offered by our Safety & Access team can be beneficial to all.
What is Occupational Health and Safety?
Let’s keep it simple. Occupational Health and Safety is designed to create a safe, healthy work environment. It can generally be considered as two separate entities.
Occupational Safety covers the risk factor in your workplace, and potential safety hazards that could possibly cause injury. Occupational Health, on the other hand, looks at potential health concerns and wellbeing. Think of Safety as an employee’s physical well-being, and Health as everything else, including mental health.
Whether you’re stacking shelves, studying a PhD, working from an office, or using heavy machinery, there are health and safety risks. That being the case, your employer has a responsibility to minimize those risks and reduce the likelihood of any workplace accident or mistreatment. And, as we’re about to explain, it’s in more than just their legal interest to look after you.
Why Occupational Health and Safety is Important
Mental Health and Well-Being
Your employer must consider the conditions you work in. OH&S puts a care of duty upon every employer to make sure that their staff work in reasonable conditions, and that their mental health is a top priority.
Long hours, few breaks, little recognition, and impossible demands will quickly leave staff fatigued, stressed, and suffering from poor mental health. At best, workers will suffer slight mental health problems and only require a break from work. At worst, this could lead to life-changing and long-term mental health problems.
Companies want to make sure that their staff are mentally healthy and contributing to the business. OH&S makes sure that staff health is looked after.
Increased Awareness and Safe Working Culture
You don’t spend thousands upon thousands of pounds putting your staff on mandatory training courses just for the sake of it. OH&S training courses, all the way from Working at Height to Supply Chain Management, are all designed to create awareness of workplace surroundings and create a safe working culture.
This sounds good on paper, but it’s even better in practice. Once they’ve completed the relevant OH&S training courses, staff will work in a much safer way, and will understand how to minimise workplace risk. As they learn to avoid hazards and raise concerns about potentially dangerous tasks, workplace-related injuries will reduce.
This keeps workers safe and improves trust throughout industry.
Increase in Productivity
Healthy staff are productive staff. When OH&S is implemented correctly, staff should feel protected, and loyal to their work. They know that they’re being looked after while they’re at work, and that they won’t be putting their safety or their health at risk.
This is also significant because when staff speak up and raise concerns about a potentially hazardous task, they do so in the knowledge that their opinion will be listened to and considered. Colleagues trust one another and, with a positive mindset, will work efficiently. Fail to protect your staff with the appropriate OH&S measures, and you’ll only see your staff retention rate decrease.
Correct Training and Use of Tools
Particularly on some of our Scaffolding Training Courses, our experts explain that shortcuts will always create workplace risks. This is true in just about every industry, but when heavy machinery is involved, the risk is much more significant.
When OH&S training is carried out correctly, staff know how to use the tools that are required for their job. Injuries are less likely to occur, and the work will be carried out to a higher standard as well. You’ll have highly trained staff and a reduction in man-hours lost to injury and illness.
OH&S will also create new opportunities in your workplace. Staff that have been trained can take on the responsibility of becoming mental health ambassadors, setting a good example and serving as a point-of-contact for their colleagues.
For others, OH&S also creates the opportunity to share success stories and examples of best practice. Staff can also be recognised for fine examples of OH&S in the workplace, and by highlighting examples of best practice, the culture of health and safety at work will only improve.
Occupational Health and Safety with Safety & Access
Ultimately, Occupational Health and Safety will look after both your employees and your profits. In the past, too many workers have suffered tragic losses – OH&S strives to make workplace accidents a thing of the past.
Our Safety & Access team are professional, patient, and fully certified OH&S training course leaders. They can explain exactly what OH&S involves, and why its benefits are so significant. We’re local to your area – contact our team today to find out how you can keep your staff productive and, most important of all, safe.