Bad Workplace Health and Safety is Expensive

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Bad Workplace Health and Safety is Expensive

workplace health and safety

Whether you work with heavy equipment or in an office setting, effective workplace health and safety (WHS) measures are vital for your business. 

Everyone has the right to return home safely and securely after a long day of work. But did you know that workplace health and safety can also impact business outcomes? In 2013 alone, Australia was estimated to have lost a total of $60 billion (just under 5% GDP) as a result of poor workplace health and safety. Bad workplace health and safety will have direct and indirect impacts on an organisation’s productivity, output and profitability in the workplace.  

What Do We Mean by ‘Workplace Health and Safety’? 

In accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, WHS, also known as occupational health and safety (OHS), refers to a framework developed to protect the health, safety and welfare of all employees, customers, visitors and suppliers at work. It requires several actions to be set in place, including incident notification, consultations and issue resolution. 

How Workplace Safety Impacts Productivity 

Safety has strong ramifications for productivity and profitability within the workplace. When an employee experiences a work-related injury or disease, it is highly likely that the business will experience several costs depending on the case’s severity. First and foremost, a workplace incident may result in lost time, with employees being unable to perform their required tasks, thereby reducing production and negatively impacting your workplace’s ability to achieve goals. Stronger and more detrimental cases can also bring about productivity costs associated with recruitment, training, staff turnover and even investigation costs, legal fines, penalties and medical expenses. 

In a nutshell, when your employees have an increased risk of injury and disease in the workplace, there is also an increased risk of more sick days, production delays, absenteeism and employee turnover. 

Bad workplace health and safety hurts morale  

Employees are less enthusiastic about going to work when their safety and wellbeing is not prioritised. Workplace health and safety is a critical component of job satisfaction. When companies don’t place importance on the work health and safety of their organisation, employees feel neglected, undervalued and unsupported. 

Unsafe working conditions, such as exposure to hazardous materials or lack of proper safety equipment, create a sense of anxiety and fear among employees. This can damage morale, resulting in lower productivity and higher employee turnover.  

Whereas when workplaces prioritise WHS, employees feel valued, and this contributes to higher job satisfaction and employee morale.  

Bad for business reputation  

When it comes to workplace health and safety it’s more than your employee productivity and cheque book on the line. It’s your company’s very reputation in the industry. A bad incident handled poorly can have a detrimental effect on your company’s industry reputation. Clients, customers and staff are not going to want to work with a company that doesn’t priorities work health and safety. 

The cost of time and resources  

When an incident does occur, it can take weeks, months or even years to properly resolve it, especially if proper precautions and safety procedures weren’t followed at the time.  

Staff can be pulled from their regular roles to assist in internal or external investigations and valuable time and resources can be lost to the process.  

Workplace Health and Safety in Your Business 

As a business professional, you have the legal responsibility to ensure that all health and safety is managed in your workplace. Whilst this can seem like a large task, workplace incidents are highly avoidable when approached appropriately. This can be accomplished by investing more time and assets into workplace safety training. 

“There is a strong case to be made that Australian businesses need to invest more to protect [their] employees from accidents, and to protect themselves from the costs associated with workplace injury,” – Professor Peter Gahan, University of Melbourne 

According to a 2014 study by the University of Melbourne on the link between productivity and WHS, it is recommended that businesses have an individual in the company that has operational oversight over all workplace health and safety initiatives. This is where increased workplace health and safety investments have a strong correlation with reduced costs, increased control, improved productivity and other add-value outcomes. 

Health and Safety Representatives 

A Health and Safety Representative (HSR) can be a perfect addition to your company, providing the oversight and knowledge necessary to improve your workplace safety and productivity. These representatives aim to provide employees with a voice in health and safety matters, whilst also improving employee’s WHS understanding through participation and consultation. 

However, to embed a Health and Safety Representative into your company, they must be trained in accordance with current government rules and regulation. At Asset College, we provide an extensive HSR course, developed to ensure that your HSR is prepared and ready to provide your business with the efficiency it needs to accomplish goals and improve productivity. 

Find out more today!