In modern business, health and safety requirements are of utmost concern to companies. Strict government legislation and guidelines mean that businesses to be extremely careful in this area, and training is key to making this happen.
However, it is important that companies know that health and safety training is not only something they should do, but something that is beneficial to their business. Businesses large and small receive a range of benefits from skilling their employees up in these areas of expertise.
In this article, we will examine the key benefits to businesses of providing health and safety training for employees.
1) It Increases Employee Awareness
No matter what industry you work in, from construction to finance, every workplace has its hazards. These hazards are often things that you may not consider hazardous unless you have had proper training.
Did you know, for example, that electrical cords can be a trip hazard which could cause a serious accident? Or that storing heavy boxes of files at the incorrect height could lead to a back injury resulting in life-long problems?
In this context, employee training in health and safety is invaluable to educate your team members on the various hazards in the workplace and how to manage them. Quality health and safety training will cover workplace hazards, how to identify them, how to address them and how to avoid these hazards occurring in the first place.
Training which is specific to your industry is particularly useful as this will cover the specific hazards common to your type of workplace.
2) It Will Reduce Accidents and Injuries
This may seem obvious, but one of the key benefits of health and safety training for employees is that it will reduce the number of incidents in the workplace, and probably outside of the workplace as well. Workplace incidents can range from minor illnesses and injuries to life-threatening accidents and conditions and, in the extreme, death.
Training is not guaranteed to 100% eliminate all incidents, but it will put your team in the best position to avoid them, and reduce accidents and illness to a minimum level. Therefore it is in the best interest of your employees, as well as your business, to provide comprehensive and high-quality health and safety training.
3) It Will Help You to Retain Talent
One of the biggest struggles faced by businesses in general is to hang on to their high-performing team members. Finding, hiring and developing great team members is extremely costly to organisations, so it is important to do everything you can to retain the talent you have!
Investing in the health and safety of your employees, and promoting this through related training, shows your team that you value your employees, a critical part of great hiring and retention strategies.
Employees how feel valued are much more likely to stay on within the same company. Of course ensuring your employees’ health and safety also prevents work related injury or illness which could see temporary or permanent absences from work.
4) It Will Make Your Team More Productive
Effective health and safety training will also help to increase productivity within your business. Better health and safety training means that there are less likely to be work-related accidents and illnesses, which cause absences from work. Left unchecked, these kinds of absences can literally cripple a company’s productivity and greatly damage performance.
Promoting better health and safety practices through effective employee training can save your business significant amounts of money by avoiding productivity losses.
5) Employees Will Be More Invested in Workplace Safety
Comprehensive training in workplace health and safety not only increases team members’ awareness and knowledge in this area, but also their investment in the process. It is well documented that the promotion of health and safety in the workplace leads to employees taking individual responsibility to ensure that theirs is a safe workplace.
This means that the whole team will be actively promoting a safe work environment, and identifying and addressing issues as they may arise. As you can imagine, this in turn leads to fewer accidents, illnesses and absences.
6) You Will Be Compliant With Safety Laws
There are enormous legal concerns for businesses associated with health and safety. Beyond the obvious concerns for the wellbeing of employees, companies also have very specific responsibilities laid out by law when it comes to workplace safety. These laws and regulations vary between different industries and sectors, but effect every business in some way. Comprehensive and effective training of employees is essential to ensure compliance with these rules.
There are industry recognised courses, such as the Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) in the UK, which comprehensively covers health and safety compliance on construction sites, in the context of complex modern legislation. See this guide to SMSTS for more information.
7) You Protect Yourself From Litigation
Although the safety of its employees should be a concern in and of itself, of course businesses also need to protect their own interests. Health and safety training is important to do just this, in that it helps protect companies from potential law suits and compensation claims.
When an employee is injured or becomes ill because of their work, the organisation could be liable for legal action, which in some cases could be detrimental to the company. Great employee health and safety training not only protects the employees, it protects the business too.
8) It Will Save You Money
Workplace health and safety training may require some financial investment upfront, but this will more than pay off in the long run. Workplace accidents and illness can be very costly: not just in terms of law suits and compensation, but also lost productivity and direct costs.
Medical expenses, medication and rehabilitation can add up to significant amounts even from minor incidents and illnesses. There are also indirect costs such as repairing damage to equipment, hiring and training replacement staff, administration and reporting of incidents and claims, and bad publicity, which could cost your company dearly in the long run. All in all, investing in training is much better for the company budget!
9) It Will Reduce Stress
It is not only physical illness and injury that employees, and therefore businesses, need to worry about these days. Emotional and mental wellbeing is also a major concern in modern workplaces. Stress and other mental health issues can have significant, long-term negative impacts on the health of employees, which in turn harms productivity and damages the business overall.
Not only does long-term stress lead to emotional problems such as lack of focus, anxiety and lowered productivity, but it can also cause real physical health issues including digestive problems, insomnia, headaches, and more.
Health and safety training can cover strategies to manage stress in the workplace. These may range from personal strategies which individuals can implement, to broader, workplace-level strategies which management could consider in order to reduce the stress levels of their employees.
10) It Will Encourage Communication
One of the biggest barriers to health and safety in the workplace is a lack of communication. Often incidents occur because employees fail to notify their supervisor or colleagues about issues, problems or hazards. Good health and safety training will educate employees about how to effectively communicate on these matters, and empower them to do so.
Additionally, encouraging better communication in this way will have flow-on effects for the workplace in general. By fostering an environment of open-communication on health and safety, you will encourage better communication within your team on all issues, which will lead to a more productive, efficient and happier workplace overall.