Why Protecting Your Assets Means Protecting Your People

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Protecting our employees while they work is not only a legal and moral duty, but it can also be fundamental to the wellbeing of your business. You may be thinking of the cost to your operations – and there’s no denying that Health and Safety does demand that we don’t cut corners and can stipulate some accommodations that cost money – but it’s also the case that taking care of your employees can make you money. Both in saved costs, but also in income increases.

The Main Benefits of Good Practice

Effective wellbeing policies help to minimize the impact on your staff of stress and risk of injury and illness in the workplace. Often we focus on avoiding the negative consequences of not fulfilling this basic duty as employers – namely having a firm of specialists like David Resnick y Asociados knocking on your door – but there are plenty of plus points to taking positive action as well. Losing the services of skilled and loyal employees can be devastating, especially to small firms.

Common Areas of Concern

The most common dangers to your employee base, that repeat themselves time and again, are not hard to identify and remedy. They include:

· Handling chemical substances that can trigger skin and respiratory conditions
· Falls and trips while handling heavy objects
· Back pain, upper limb disorders (such as Repetitive Strain Injury) and musculoskeletal injury
· Aches and strain from using VDUs (Visual Display Units) and other computer equipment
· Work-related stress and anxiety

Working to combat the most common problems means that your business is less likely to have absent and unwell employees, which is a massive boost to productivity and can really impact your bottom line.

Indirect Costs of Absenteeism

When workers are off through poor health, it’s pretty easy to count the cost to your business in terms of loss of productivity – but there are also plenty of hidden costs that aren’t so easily traced. As well as wages paid out to those who are absent, the high cost of temporary agency staff to provide cover – or overtime pay to other employees covering the role – and the admin costs of managing the process, these are the additional expenses you may not have considered:

· Additional time requirement for managers (dealing with finding replacements or following sick policy procedures)
· Poorer quality of service/goods from understaffing, less knowledgeable replacement staff or as a result of fatigue from those who are picking up the slack
· Loss of customer confidence and repeat business stemming from the above
· Safety issues arising from inadequately trained replacement or temporary workers handling the role
· Reduced morale and corresponding productivity dip from other employees covering or doing extra work to compensate

All of these are huge, unseen drains on your operations, which makes the case for addressing the root causes of workplace sickness much more of a justifiable business case.

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What You Can Gain

While avoiding all of the indirect costs related to injured, sick or stressed employees, your business also stands to gain a lot of positives by addressing workplace health and safety effectively and in compliance with local laws and regulations. These benefits include:

Retaining good staff. The single biggest problem facing most growing businesses is recruiting the right talent – a process that is not only costly, but is time-consuming and critical to the success of your operations. So by making sure you don’t lose anyone to illness or injury, you are safeguarding against this and also promoting goodwill – employees who feel their company genuinely cares about their wellbeing are likely to be more motivated and committed in general.

Having a good reputation. The stigma of having a bad track record extends further than your employee network – clients and customers soon get to know of it, and you may even find that it makes your associates think twice about doing business with you. Other companies want to work with stable organizations whose employees are geared up to deliver the best service. If you have a strong reputation for looking after your people, the halo effect can be considerable, and a little good PR on this front can mean more leads and higher sales.

Save on insurance and legal costs. We don’t often think of health and safety measures as proactively saving us money on overheads, but actually having a strong policy and a good standard of employee welfare can reduce the amount you pay in business insurance premiums, as well as the cost of accidents that aren’t covered by your premium – such as delays to production, missed deadlines or repairs to equipment. These uninsured costs can end up being far more significant than those on your insurance policy and they will be paid directly out of your business income as well.

Simple Steps to Save

So, where do you get started with making sure your business avoids the pitfalls and reaps the rewards of taking proper care of your workers?

· Create a plan to promote good practice. Identify some proactive steps for identifying risks and eliminating or minimizing them. Find a health and safety plan template that sets out what you will do to ensure employee safety, and what you expect your workers to do in return to safeguard their own wellbeing. Make sure there is access to an accident log and plenty of first aid kits, as well as people trained to give first aid assistance.



· Have an Inspection schedule. Make sure that you or a designated individual is regularly checking over equipment, workstations, and any tools etc to check they are safe to operate and fit for purpose. Review any storage areas and make sure things are being stored correctly and safely and that everyone who needs to has been trained about lifting heavy objects – even desk-based employees may need to do this occasionally. Hold regular fire drills and ensure that everyone knows the evacuation procedure in the event of an emergency.

· Make it an integral part of your business. If you are serious about keeping employees safe, it can’t be an afterthought. Build their wellbeing into every other business consideration such as decisions on inventory, financial planning and customer service.

You can never be too careful when protecting your most important business asset – those who work for you.