Health and safety regulations are never-ending. For example, employers have to provide protective equipment for employees who handle hazardous materials. And first aid kits and fire extinguishers are required for all offices. Other regulations are concerned with sanitation and ventilation, while some focus on educating workers on the dangers in their working environment. These are just some of the health and safety regulations companies must adhere to on a regular basis.
Understandably, managers believe implementing these regulations is expensive. Many of them are unaware of the business benefits of good health and safety at work. Here are some of the most important benefits.
These Regulations Save Lives
No amount of work or profit is worth the life of a single worker. Regrettably, many of them die because of laxity in implementing health and safety regulations. In 2016 alone, more than 5,190 workers died on the job. Some of these deaths were preventable. For example, OSHA estimates that preventing falls, caught in-betweens, electrocutions and hits by objects would have reduced these fatalities by 631.
According to David Rowland, Head of Marketing at Effective Software, “Directors must have an understanding of the role safety plays in the performance of their business. In accepting corporate responsibility for health and safety, directors need to be proactive in developing a positive safety culture for their workplace. In the long term, this will lead to an internal cultural shift that can have an indirect impact on external brand affinity and brand loyalty.”
These Regulations Reduce Costs
Compensating workers who suffer from injuries or develop medical complications while they work for you is mandated by law. The amount the worker or his family receive varies by state. Spending on compensation for workers constitutes 1.6 percent of total expenditures by employers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some industries spend more on this than others do. For example, 4.4 percent of spending in the construction industry goes to compensating workers for injuries sustained while they were working.
These percentages translate into billions of dollars. The amount spent on medical bills for employees as compensation for grievous harm sustained at the workplace was $31.5 billion in 2013. This figure is nearly three times the GDP of Rwanda. Businesses can save on these costs by implementing rigorous policies on health and safety.
These Regulations Increase Productivity
Companies spend vast sums of money recruiting employees. For instance, various studies have suggested that filling a single slot in a company costs $4,000 on average. Reflect upon how many employees your company has. What costs did you incur as you recruited them? You bore this cost willingly because you expected them to be productive.
Unfortunately, workplace injuries and medical complications interfere with your workers’ productivity. Slip-and-fall injuries, for example, result in 11 days of absence from the average workplace. Firing employees because they cannot make it to work because of these injuries is illegal.
At the same time, hiring a new worker during these days of absence might cost you as much as $4,000 or more. Your only realistic option is to wait for your employee to come back to work. This means accepting that productivity will be reduced for some time as your employee recuperates. Implementing stricter health and safety policies at your workplace can help avoid such scenarios.
These Regulations Improve a Business’s Reputation
Your company’s reputation depends on multiple factors, including financial performance, leadership style and the quality of your products. Another critical factor is the standards you set at your workplace. For example, do your employees have access to clean bathrooms? Is there an adequate level of lighting on your factory floor?
People want their money to go into the hands of responsible businesses. That’s why activists organize boycotts when workers are treated poorly by companies and why the consumer often listens. No businessperson wants protesters with placards demonstrating outside their building. Rest assured, though, that avoiding these scenarios is possible. For example, social media campaigns and other company-wide efforts against unsafe practices at your workplace can help get everyone at your organization on board.
Implement workplace health and safety regulations today, and the reputation of your business is probably safe. Strictly enforce them, and it will soar into the stratosphere. In the end then, ensuring a strict health and safety policy is a no-brainer. It benefits your workers, who will be happier, more productive and more loyal to your company; consumers get to hear about this, and they spend more money in your business; and it benefits you, for the former reasons.