Organizations tend to see health and safety maintenance as more of a cost rather than an asset. In reality, it is not only a vital part of any organization’s operations but also one of the most lucrative investments that can be made. The Health and Safety Executive reports that the cost of workplace injury and ill health reached up to £18.8 billion in 2020. That’s why coming up with a health and safety budget is vital.
7 Essential Steps in Planning Your Organisation’s Health and Safety Budget
By giving importance to an organization’s individuals, assets, and environment, these budgets can help reduce both financial costs and workplace dissatisfaction. With a health and safety budget, a company can operate more smoothly while also minimizing the risk of any possible accidents.
In addition, meeting safety standards will ensure legal compliance, as well as enhance both reputation and stakeholder confidence. While not an easy feat, planning and carrying out a health and safety budget is very much attainable through the following essential steps:
1. Determining pain points
A health and safety budget plan must address any possible risks the organization might face and build actions based on how these can be evaded. This is why some of the most vital data needed when it comes to budget planning are the organization’s pain points.
Through the identification of pain points, decision-makers will have more opportunities to create a compelling budget that can resolve health and safety issues in the workplace.
2. Collecting organizational data
Assessing a company’s management and operation style is a great next step to check which pain points should be prioritized when formulating a health and safety budget. These assessments can come in the form of observing health and safety aspects via how the organization functions, interviewing people involved, and researching past data collected.
This will allow decision-makers to determine where exactly a health and safety budget needs to allocate the most resources, how it can build on an organization’s current health and safety initiatives, and what other items need to be added to it for it to be more effective.
3. Conducting market studies
Conducting research outside of the organization is also a crucial step in budget planning. By doing so, decision-makers will be able to come up with an efficient budgeting strategy by comparing and contrasting popular trends in their peers’ health and safety budgeting. The external market research will also help them identify further opportunities and risks based on other organizations and apply their own data to this information.
Conducting this research should also include making sure that budgets and plans adhere to the United Kingdom’s Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974—which includes employer responsibilities such as providing adequate health and safety induction and training, providing equipment needed in the interests of health and safety, and communicating with safety representatives.
4. Consulting with financial experts
Financial planning is critical to the success of health and safety budgeting. However, this task could be difficult. Budgeting comes with many risks, such as inaccuracies, unexpected circumstances, and overestimated plans. Smaller organizations without in-house accountants are more prone to committing these errors, which is why it is essential to consult accounting and finance consultants when needed.
For matters as complex as health and safety budgeting, it may even be wise to consult C-suite-level consultants. This level of financial expert will be able to provide sound and industry-specific advice regarding how to better allocate financial resources, which can only contribute towards effective health and safety budget planning.
5. Training safety practices
As per the UK’s Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, there are legal duties that employers have towards employees, which is why it is necessary to properly introduce organization members to the country’s Health and Safety Legislations, as well as their own organization’s programs created from the health and safety budget.
This involves informing them regarding possible risks and hazards and training them according to organization protocols. Because this training is specialized in the field of health and safety, organizations may turn to specialists such as health and safety officers for assistance in providing appropriate training.
These professionals are perfect for the job as they themselves are certified by chartered institutions like the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health and the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health.
6. Promoting community involvement
Health and safety are everyone’s responsibility—which is why efforts should always be collective. In the case of organizational health and safety, it is particularly important to promote the efforts among everyone involved to ensure the success of programs formed from the health and safety budget.
One of the best ways to carry this out is through safety incentive programs. These programs are designed to motivate individuals to not only follow the organization’s health and safety protocols but also engage in safety training and activities. This is done by means of recognitions and rewards that may come in monetary form, gift cards, or organization benefits such as extra time off.
Overall, the program aims to inspire individuals to take more proactive safety measures for themselves and their peers.
7. Improving implementation continuously
One of the key factors to fully utilizing the budget allotted for health and safety measures is continuous improvement. This can come in the same forms of observation, interview, and research as done in examining trends.
According to the British Library, applying the SWOT analysis framework to the implemented systems and programs will identify various helpful insights on the strengths and weaknesses faced by, as well as the opportunities and threats present in, an organization. These insights can help decision-makers seize opportunities by employing their strengths and ward off threats by correcting their weaknesses.