A 12-1 return on investment.

A 12-1 return on investment.
by Sean Fowden

The Bottom Line Secret Every Business Should Know ———————————————————————————————————— Health and Safety has an image problem, we know that. Banning conkers, no throwing sweets at the pantomime, no hanging baskets, stepladders are banned by the HSE.

These myths and others like them do not help the image at all. My particular favourite is Trapeze Artists to Wear Safety Helmets, what a picture that conjures up. But Health and Safety also holds a secret no business can afford to ignore.

The benefits of good health and safety management far outweigh the costs of implementation. In this time of credit crunch surely any system that can improve the bottom line of a business by up to twelve times the investment should be examined and utilised without delay.

Rolling your eyes in disbelief? Well take a trip to the HSE website for proof www.hse.gov.uk/business/casestudy.htm and see the real case studies for yourself.

Still don’t believe me?

“We’ve seen it all before, we don’t have accidents here, there is no need for health and safety getting in the way.”

Comments like these are frequent and perceived to be true, but they aren’t true at all.

A good health and safety management system, saves money by lessening absence rates, lessening staff turnover rates, saves on training new recruits, reduces the chance of insurance claims, and could get you a reduction in insurance premiums. It also improves your business image to clients and staff, working practices and productivity.

Do you want to waste 5000 on an accident investigatio, because that is the minimum you can expect.

Moral, Legal and Financial are the three significant reasons for business’ to implement a good health and safety management system

Can any business afford to miss out on these potentially large financial cost savings? Especially in these days of the credit crunch and shrinking markets. An practical and efficient health and safety management system can deliver astonishing financial returns.

Health and safety does not have to be restrictive, the headmaster in a school local to my home is very proactive in getting the children to take part in risk/adventure activities as part of their all round education. I recently did some work with them on risk assessment.

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Adventure activities like camping, night walking, potholing, paintball with the army, mattress surfing (dont ask) and the climbing wall has been ordered. The pupils also canoe and build rafts to go on the river that borders the school land, in which they also swim.

The girls at St. Trinians would probaly take flight when they take to the hockey field like demons.

Do they feel restricted, I dont think so and for a relatively small school, they appear to have a disproportionate number of Area and County level sports representatives, in one of Englands largest counties.

Have risk assessments been done? Of course. Are they restrictive? No. They provide sensible guidelines to staff and pupils to manage the risk without wrapping the children in cotton wool.

Managing risks for themselves builds confidence and a rounded character for life after school, the parents do not object, in fact they actively encourage the children to take part. The excitement ignites the childrens imaginations

They wont understand about risk if they’re wrapped in cotton wool and they wont have much fun either.

If your workforce had the kind of positive can do attitude that the pupils of this school show, you will enjoy the added bonus of saving costs through a good health and safety management system which is progressive not regressive.

Would we have a Great Britain if our ancestors had not taken risks?

These criteria should be used in business, health and safety is cost effective, but it needs to be embraced by and communicated to the whole workforce. The big stick downwards is much less productive than involving everybody from the grass roots up and valuing their opinion.

Manager Oh yes we have risk assessments

Auditor Where are they?

Manager In that box file on the top shelf Auditor

Have the staff read and understood them? A hush falls on the room.

Cost savings will be negligible if you do not run the system professionally. If the scenario above sounds familiar then you are not doing a professional job with your health and safety.

Do it right and pounds can be added to the bottom line of your business, you will also gain the respect of your customers and suppliers and add kudos to your competitive edge not to mention the pro-active involvement of the work force.

So with all this evidence and advantage, give it a go, what have you got to lose? Even your marketing gurus cant give you a 12 to 1 return on investment especially in these difficult times when businesses need every penny.

Go to www.hse.gov.uk/business/casestudy.htm and see for yourself what can be done!

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