Health and safety is about people; keeping your employees, contractors and customers safe day-to-day. Businesses can see a significant return on investment when doing it properly, and can really damage their bottom line when they get it wrong. In terms of reputation, it is essential for any brand to get environmental, health and safety management right. Getting it wrong is not just a case of lost time and costs, but can have a far-reaching impact on your brand image.It has finally come of age – some 180 years since the first factory inspectorate was formed in the UK and 40 years since the game-changing Health and Safety at Work Act was introduced in the UK. Basic non-compliance such as not reporting incidents is simply not accepted by regulators, or indeed by consumers. In the advent of open internet communications, they have become tertiary stakeholders in major corporations through the power of reputation. The better companies get at compliance, the easier they will find it to go beyond and achieve excellence and from there, innovation. Getting the basics right is fundamental in every facet of business and EHS is no different. Ensure you have a robust approach to your EHS and people will give you compliance, but tackling it in an advanced way using the latest learnings, theories and tools out there, will give your business rewards inside and out. The more compliant businesses are today, the more successful they will be in the future. If you don’t have a safety record to protect your business it will really affect your industry reputation and chances of winning new business. Take the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill for example – BP should have made changes, worked on mitigating risk and been much more attuned to how others in the industry were operating, in order to comply with industry regulations and uphold their reputation.
There are some key questions to consider here: do your customers and investors expect a responsible approach to EHS and risk management? Or, would a bad track record impact your customer or investor perceptions of your brand? How would your business be disrupted if an incident occurred? Are you getting better at reducing incidents over time? Are you using the people in your business to inform you exactly how well your operations perform in terms of EHS risk? After all, they are your most powerful asset and, with devices in their hands, can aid your journey to getting better visibility and control over your EHS. EHS should not be a burden or back-office job for business. It is about your people and your environment, and should aid productivity, reputation and business retention, when done well. When good practice is adhered to, a small investment in effective health and safety management solutions can reap big rewards in the long term. Investors look at company performance and potential for growth, undoubtedly with a huge focus on markets and sustainability. Take British engineering giant Keller – a £1.6bn company with health and safety at the very top of the executive agenda. For Keller, progressive health and safety is better for business, it creates more successful, sustainable business and they know it. Read more on health and safety at work:
- Employers’ liability insurance: What, why and how
- Busted: The 10 most ridiculous health and safety myths
- How to protect your workforce against Britain’s top 10 occupational dangers
James Jameson is VP product strategy at Rivo.
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