Miles Vartan discusses the importance of health and safety.

Accidents can happen at any time; the stress and heartache for all involved is considerable and all the more painful if the accident could have been avoided. The majority of accident investigations will highlight that if the company involved all employees in a proportionate risk analysis approach and more importantly had implemented the results, the resultant injury would have been prevented.

Professor Lofstedt, when asked to review progress on making the UK’s Health & Safety regime more effective and less bureaucratic wrote to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Justice, in 24th January 2013 confirming that in his view the Government’s work… ‘will ensure that health & safety is not seen as a bureaucratic burden but as a proportionate and risk based system that helps businesses comply with their duties and ensures that employees are protected from the real risks to their health & safety’.

The commercial performance of a company relies upon inspirational leadership and effective management. New product development, dynamic marketing, employee training and excellent work equipment are all factors from which considered decisions will lead to positive results. Pivotal Managers, whose performance and subsequent financial rewards are often measured by factors such as increases in turnover, achieving the required level of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) etc have sometimes been seen to literally forget or ignore the safety of their staff. Make sure that as a key manager or director in your respective business, this is never going to be the case with you.

When reviewing your Health & Safety Policy take the opportunity to test how effective it is:

• Do your risk assessments and safe working procedures actually do the job they are designed to do? If they are followed, will they prevent your employee, a contractor or a member of the general public from getting hurt?
• Have they been issued, explained and demonstrated to your employees and contractors?
• Are you confident that you are being told and are aware of health & safety issues relating to your business?
• When investigating accidents and near misses are you establishing why they have happened?

Make sure, that as your company is starting to reap the benefits of all the hard work that has been undertaken during this prolonged recession, that you enable yourself to subsequently fully appreciate the approaching good times; do not spoil this by forgetting the health and safety of all your staff.