Why Do We Manage Health And Safety? 3 Important Reasons

In the dynamic ecosystem of any organization, the question often arises, “Why do we manage health and safety?” The answer spans various dimensions, including the moral obligation to ensure that every worker returns safely to their loved ones at the end of the day, the legal implications that mandate adherence to safety regulations, and the financial imperatives that aim at avoiding the costs associated with workplace mishaps.

Beyond these tangibles, effective health and safety management underlines a company’s commitment to its employees and its ethical approach to business, thus establishing a foundation for trust, loyalty, and sustained productivity.

In the subsequent sections, we will delve deeper into the intrinsic moral, legal, and financial reasons that underscore the indispensable nature of health and safety management in workplaces.

What is Managing Health and Safety?

At its core, “Managing Health and Safety” means taking deliberate actions to identify and control potential dangers in a specific setting, ensuring the utmost safety and well-being of everyone involved. It’s not just about responding to accidents but proactively identifying risks and putting measures in place to mitigate them. This involves creating robust policies, investing in training, and equipping individuals with the right resources to handle and prevent hazardous situations.

In addition to these proactive measures, managing health and safety also requires regular evaluations to ensure compliance with established standards and regulations. By continuously monitoring and adapting to new challenges, organizations can ensure a safe environment. The ultimate goal is to foster a culture where the health and well-being of every individual are at the forefront and potential hazards are consistently addressed and minimized.

Moral Reasons For Managing Health And Safety

Consequences Of Not Managing Health and Safety

Failing to manage health and safety in the workplace can have severe consequences for employers and employees. Some of the consequences of not managing health and safety are:

  • Increased risk of accidents, injuries, and illnesses: Failure to identify and manage hazards can lead to accidents, injuries, and illnesses that can cause physical and psychological harm to employees.
  • Legal penalties and fines: Employers who do not comply with health and safety regulations may face legal penalties and fines, which can significantly damage the company’s reputation.
  • Compensation claims: Employees injured or ill due to workplace hazards can file compensation claims against their employers, which can be costly and time-consuming.
  • Damage to reputation: Poor health and safety management can damage the reputation of a company, leading to loss of business, decreased productivity, and difficulty in attracting and retaining employees.
  • Reduced employee morale: A workplace that does not prioritize health and safety can reduce employee morale and job satisfaction and increase absenteeism.
  • Increased insurance costs: Insurance companies may increase premiums or refuse coverage to companies with poor health and safety records, which can be a significant financial burden.

The consequences of not managing health and safety can be severe, ranging from legal penalties and compensation claims to damage to reputation and decreased employee morale. Employers need to take health and safety seriously and implement appropriate measures to protect their employees’ well-being.

Reasons To Manage Health And Safety

There are many reasons to manage health and safety in the workplace. Some of these reasons include the following:

1. Moral Reasons For Managing Health And Safety

The moral reason is all about the moral duty that every person owes to others.it is not morally acceptable that when people go to work, they will be exposed to danger, resulting in pain, suffering, injuries, and ill health. Workers expect to work in a safe environment and return to families and friends at the end of the shift.

A. Human Dignity and Safety Expectations

Every individual stepping into a workplace anticipates a safe environment—a fundamental human right. Any deviation from this not only puts lives at risk but also jeopardizes the essence of human dignity.

B. The Ripple Effects of Neglect

A workplace accident doesn’t just affect the victim. Families, friends, colleagues, and even the broader community feel the repercussions. The emotional, psychological, and financial toll of such incidents underscores the importance of proactive safety measures.

C. Our Shared Ethical Duty

In our interconnected society, protecting and looking out for one another becomes a shared responsibility. This principle gains even greater importance in workplace settings, emphasizing the collective duty towards safety.

D. Consequences of Safety Oversights

Overlooking safety can have far-reaching effects beyond physical injuries. It can lead to decreased trust, dwindling morale, and reputational damage, underscoring the need for stringent safety practices.

E. Championing a Safety-First Culture

Organizations must prioritize safety and conduct regular training and timely checks. By instilling this culture, they not only prevent accidents but also foster a sense of care, vigilance, and collective responsibility.

F. Ethical Leadership in Practice

Leading with a strong moral compass and viewing safety as paramount is the hallmark of ethically sound organizations. Such commitment reflects broader societal values, setting an example for others to follow.

In short:

It is morally unacceptable to expose the worker to danger in return for the work that they do to earn for their families. The employer’s moral duty is to prevent his workers from pain and suffering from injuries and ill health by providing them a safe environment to work in.

Legal Reasons For Managing Health And Safety

2. Social and Legal Reasons For Managing Health And Safety

Though there is a slight difference in legal and social reasons, most people consider it the same. This is due to the fact that Laws are made to meet societal expectations and protects the right of people. So here I mention it separately, but points can be merged occasionally if required.

A. Legal Reasons For Managing Health And Safety

  • As laws are made to protect human rights, it compels the employer to do what he should to take reasonable care of employees.
  • Laws define the framework that governs the conduct of business and organization.
  • It sets the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees so that they can be made accountable for that.
  • To get a license to operate, one needs to comply with local laws.
  • Failure to achieve minimum standards set by laws can lead to enforcement actions and prosecution before the court.
  • Legal reasons include preventive reasons to avoid enforcement notices, such as improvement and prohibition notices.
  • It also includes preventing Punitive damage where criminal prosecution due to breaches of legal duty may result in a fine for organizations and imprisonment or both for individuals.
  • There is also a compensatory effect of law where employees can sue in civil courts for compensation claims by proving negligence of the employer.
  • Organizations are legally responsible for ensuring the health and safety of their employees, customers, and other stakeholders. Failing to do so can result in heavy fines, penalties, and jail time. Beyond the legal implications, managing health and safety is simply good business.

Or In short

Strict legal obligations are imposed on employers and employees regarding health & safety. Legal reasons are based upon compliance with national laws and international standards to avoid preventive, punitive, and compensatory damages due to prosecution before the court. It also sets boundaries and governs the rules for business conduct.

B. Social Reasons For Managing Health And Safety

Society’s expectations are different in terms of standards of deliverance. Still, at minimum, all societies demand a safe working environment that includes a safe place of work with safe access and egress, safe plant and equipment, a safe work system, adequate training and supervision, and competent employees.

Expectations of society tend to increase with time, and these are often translated into in-laws and standards. The organization needs to improve its standard of behavior to meet these higher expectations.

Or In short

Social reasons relate to social expectations that demand employers to provide a safe place of work, safe plant and equipment, safe work systems, competent workers, and a high standard of training and supervision. The organization tends to bring improvements in standards to meet these expectations.

Financial Reasons For Managing Health And Safety

3. Economic Reasons/ Financial reasons

Though most employers think of health and safety arrangements as an additional cost, researchers show that it is not true because such arrangements prevent us from many losses caused by accidents due to the absence of such arrangements. Accidents and ill health result in various direct and indirect costs.

There are many good reasons for businesses to invest in health and safety management, both from an ethical and purely economic perspective. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Health and safety management can help reduce workers’ compensation costs: Workers’ compensation insurance is a necessary expense for any business, but it can be a significant financial burden. By implementing health and safety management strategies, businesses can help reduce the number of workers’ compensation claims filed and the associated costs.
  • Improving health and safety can boost productivity: Employees who feel safe and healthy at work are more productive. This is good for business operations and the bottom line.
  • Reducing health and safety risks can help protect your company’s reputation: No business wants to be associated with a workplace injury or illness. By investing in health and safety management, businesses can help reduce the risk of such incidents and protect their reputation.
  • Investing in health and safety can help attract and retain employees: Employees want to work for companies that care about their safety and well-being. By investing in health and safety management, businesses can show their employees that they are committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace. This can help with employee recruitment and retention.
  • Implementing health and safety management strategies can save you money in the long run: While there is an initial investment required to implement health and safety management strategies, businesses can save money in the long run by reducing workers’ compensation costs, boosting productivity, and protecting their reputation.
  • An organization can enjoy the economic benefits due to the highly motivated workforce that may increase the rate and quality of products and services.
  • Competitive edge by maintaining the image and reputation of the organization with stakeholders and a low staff turnover rate
  • Cost avoidance of accident investigation, hiring legal services to face the prosecution in courts, hiring and training replacement staff, remedial actions or repair of plant, equipment, and location, and a reduction in insurance premiums help secure favorable insurance terms.

Or In short

Accidents and ill health result in various direct and indirect costs. Some of the costs can be insured against, and most cannot be insured. To prevent such financial losses and damage to the profitability of an organization, it is required to manage health and safety to avoid accidents and ill health.

Reasons Why Health And Safety Is Important

Additional Reasons To Manage Health And Safety

Here are some additional reasons why managing health and safety is important:

  • Compliance with industry standards: Besides legal requirements, many industries have specific health and safety standards that must be met. By managing health and safety, organizations can ensure compliance with these standards and demonstrate their commitment to industry best practices.
  • Protection of intellectual property: Workplace accidents and illnesses can lead to the loss of valuable intellectual property, such as trade secrets, patents, and copyrights. By managing health and safety, organizations can reduce the risk of such losses and protect their intellectual property.
  • Improved customer satisfaction: A safe and healthy workplace can improve customer satisfaction. This is because customers are more likely to do business with companies that prioritize the safety and well-being of their employees.
  • Innovation: Managing health and safety can foster innovation by promoting a culture of continuous improvement. Employees who feel safe and healthy are more likely to be creative and innovative, which can lead to new ideas and business opportunities.
  • Sustainability: Health and safety management is an important part of sustainability efforts. By managing health and safety, organizations can reduce their environmental impact, conserve resources, and promote social responsibility.
  • Improved morale: A safe and healthy workplace can improve employee morale, increasing job satisfaction and reducing absenteeism. This can ultimately lead to improved productivity and reduced turnover rates.
  • Brand image: A commitment to health and safety can enhance a company’s brand image and reputation. This can lead to increased customer loyalty, improved investor confidence, and a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
  • Reduced environmental impact: Health and safety management can also help to reduce an organization’s environmental impact. This can include reducing waste, conserving energy, and promoting sustainable practices.
  • Compliance with international standards: Many organizations operate in multiple countries and must comply with international health and safety standards. By managing health and safety, organizations can ensure compliance with these standards and demonstrate their commitment to global best practices.
  • Employee engagement: Health and safety management can also promote employee engagement by involving employees in developing and implementing health and safety policies and procedures. This can increase employee empowerment, job satisfaction, and commitment to the organization’s goals.
Importance Of Occupational Health And Safety

Conclusion

Managing health and safety is a critical aspect of any organization’s operations. The reasons for managing health and safety vary, including moral obligations, legal compliance, social expectations, economic benefits, environmental sustainability, etc. Organizations can prioritize health and safety management to protect their employees, improve productivity, reduce costs, enhance their reputation, and achieve their business objectives.

Organizations need to take a proactive and holistic approach to health and safety management, which includes implementing policies and procedures, providing training and supervision, conducting risk assessments, and continually improving health and safety performance. By doing so, organizations can create a safe and healthy workplace that benefits everyone, including employees, customers, investors, and society.

Ultimately, managing health and safety is not just the right thing to do but also good for business. Organizations can achieve long-term success and sustainability by prioritizing their employees’ health and safety.

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Author

Shehzad Zafar

Shehzad Zafar is an experienced occupational health and safety trainer with 15 years in the oil, gas, and construction industries. He specializes in creating customized training programs, advocating for safety as the foremost workplace priority, and instilling this principle in the professionals he trains.