Why health and safety always needs to be a number one priority

By Anna Jones, Freelance Writer.

For many of us, the concept of regular health and safety training can feel – for want of a better phrase – like teaching you 'how to suck eggs'. However, health and safety should always remain your number one priority when conducting yourself in the workplace, no matter what industry you work in.

From keeping walkways clear in an office space to wearing the correct PPE from an expert such as Safeaid on a building site, health and safety is relevant everywhere. Still not convinced? Perhaps you're just thinking about the necessary paperwork involved...

Here is why health and safety must be a top priority wherever you work.

The cost of a workplace accident

Accidents in the workplace are common. In fact, slips and trips make up for 40 per cent of all major injuries in work, and if serious enough, a business could find itself in hot water. The cost of legal fees alone, if found to be negligent when it comes to health and safety or poor practices, can leave a business in trouble. As well as that, the cost of reputational damage, training replacement staff or delaying jobs and upsetting clients are also costly repercussions of not making health and safety everyone's priority.

Preventing serious injury and even death

Health and safety is there to protect people. It ensures they do not end up in harms way and suffering with a serious, life changing injury, or even killed while carrying out work. The Health and Safety Executive regularly report on such incidents, and in February 2017 numerous serious incidents took place up and down the country. A bus company in London was recently fined after one of their workers fell from ladder and suffered fatal head injuries – an accident said to have resulted due to the company "not implement[ing] and keep[ing] to their own procedures for managing contractors". They were ordered to pay costs of £78,531.

In Swindon, a man was crushed to death when a HGV lorry reversed and trapped him between two vehicles. Serious safety failings were noted as a result of the accident and there was no safe system in place for drivers to adhere to when reversing. Both these tragic incidents could have been easily avoided if health and safety had been considered a number one priority and safety culture was a key focus.

If you are a business owner, it's time to take a look at your health and safety policies and the culture of your workforce. Ensure everything is being done to protect the safety of those under your care. As a worker, it's time to be mindful of the health and safety practices that are there to protect you.

Take your health and safety training seriously and contribute towards a health and safety culture – one that talks openly and honestly about shortcomings and hazards. That way, you will hopefully avoid tragic circumstances like those noted above and continue working to the best of your ability without incident.