How Health and Safety Breaches Impact Businesses

Every business, no matter the industry and no matter the size, should establish health and safety protocols and invest in health and safety training. Why? Because workplace health and safety is important for the welfare of employees. It ensures both physical and mental well-being, and can even instill confidence that can in turn directly affect productivity.

In addition, workplace health and safety protects the business. It’s not just about compliance with the law, but also preventing any breaches that can lead to ramifications like the ones mentioned below:

Decreased Productivity

As previously mentioned, having a healthy and safe environment to work in can affect a person’s productivity. If they know they’re being well taken care of by the organisation, if they know that they have the skills to handle emergencies, it will reflect on the way they do their tasks. They will be more efficient, resulting in increased productivity of the company.

On the other hand, when people get sick or injured due to poor health and safety protocols in the workplace, they need to take time off to recuperate properly. While necessary, the break can also cause a temporary decline in productivity—and this is already the best-case scenario.

At worst, the employee/s may be injured permanently or for a long time. This will require hiring and training replacements, which can affect various facets of the organisation, including long-term profitability.

Decline in Motivation

In relation to the previous point, when your employees frequently get sick or injured due to inadequate workplace health and safety, it can lead to a drop in motivation. The ultimate result of this is disengagement and even disenfranchisement. This can then lead to high attrition rates, which can snowball into productivity and monetary losses.

Higher Insurance Payments and Additional Compensation

One of the biggest examples of monetary losses due to health and safety breaches in the workplace are higher insurance costs. This is simply because frequent accidents and injuries mean you have to fulfil more insurance claims. The more this happens, the higher the premiums will become.

This can also affect your business’s prospects of acquiring reasonably priced insurance packages in the future. After all, your record will speak for itself and insurers will definitely become hesitant to cover your needs.

Depending on the severity of the situation, your employees may also make claims under the law against you. If you don’t have a robust health and safety system in place, you might be required to cover the resulting legal fees. This can be on top of other forms of compensation.

Legal Consequences

Speaking of legal fees, there are certain penalties and fines if your company is found unable to comply with the health and safety obligations specified by the law. In some cases, you might be prohibited to conduct any business activities in the future. For the most serious offences, you may even face time in prison.
These legal consequences have long-reaching effects. Not only will it cost a lot of money, it can also affect people’s mental and emotional health.

Reputational Cost

The above-mentioned legal consequences alone can cost your company its reputation. What’s more, even if the situation doesn’t warrant going to court, an employee with a negative experience can share their story. In the age of social media, this is something that you want to avoid. More often than not, bad news travels faster than good news and you’ll soon end up dealing with both an internal issue and a public one.

Ultimately, the negative PR can affect your reputation among customers, suppliers, and partners, both current and prospective ones. This can affect the growth of your business; the most extreme circumstances can even cause eventual closure.

If these effects seem dire to you, that’s because they are. This simply underscores the importance of establishing health and safety guidelines in the workplace, as well as giving your staff ample training with regards to the subject. You might think that investing in this facet of the business is costly but the above-mentioned ramifications can cost you so much more.

More importantly, ensuring health and safety in the office can lead to the opposite of those mentioned above. With your employees feeling their best, you’ll have fewer cases of absenteeism and sick days, resulting in fewer interruptions and improved productivity and morale. This can in turn contribute to retention, which then lowers your recruitment and training costs.

You’ll also enjoy a largely positive reputation; in fact, your peers may even model their health and safety protocols to yours if they find it effective. This can improve your standing within the industry, boosting your credibility among your competitors and employees alike.

Finally, you can avoid paying higher insurance costs and possible legal fees if you maintain a robust health and safety protocol.

All in all, there’s so much that hinges on health and safety management in the office. Ultimately, it’s in the best interest of both you and your employees to take this aspect of running a business seriously.