A safe business is a good business

Today (28 April 2023) has been designated by the International Labour Organisation as World Day for Safety and Health at Work. Setting one day aside every year as a reminder that health and safety at work is both a fundamental principle and a right must be worthwhile, whatever the occupation.

From the inception of The Momentum Group, our core value has been Safe-First which is integrated into every facet of our operation and ethos. That means feeling safe whether in the office, in a meeting, on site or at a client’s property and importantly feeling safe to be able to express views and thoughts, professionally and constructively.

Looking after our team members improves quality, productivity, morale and improves balance sheets therefore, health and safety should never be a tagged-on as an afterthought. One example of our robust commitment to safety is our programme of awareness and training measures in which every team member is invested, as education is so important.

Despite stories you might read in the media, from big issues like Grenfell to smaller, but no less important ones like falling from a ladder, the UK is amongst the best in the world at occupational health and safety and it is something of which we can be proud, but never complacent.

A badge of respect

Every year, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), celebrates the organisations and businesses that demonstrate a commitment to health and safety excellence.

The RoSPA Health and Safety Awards is the largest occupational health and safety awards programme in the UK, receiving around 2,000 entries every year, covering 50 countries and a reach of over seven million employees.

It is a badge to have because it also says something about respect for employees. As Julia Small, RoSPA’s Achievements Director, said at this year’s announcement:

“Accidents at work and work-related ill health don’t just have huge financial implications or cause major disruption – they significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. That’s why good safety performance deserves to be recognised and rewarded.”

Evolving attitudes

Over the last 50 years, since the UK’s Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), society has evolved, and we have seen significant changes to attitudes and approaches to health and safety in the workplace.

In the construction industry, for example, the default position for many employers was to make sure that workers were not threatened by physical injury. The emphasis was on safety.

Now, it is not just about preventing broken bones and severed fingers, it is also about mental health and delivering people in a healthy state to the age of 60-65 to allow them to enjoy a worthwhile and active retirement. This is about improvements in education around health bodies and minds.

And it is not only about the building site or factory floor, but also about the office. The worker that sits at a desk needs to be equally efficient and is therefore equally important. The chair, the shape of the desk and the height of a computer monitor can all influence muscular-skeletal health. Ignore this and employers are designing in long term problems, which in turn can affect mental health and cause stress.

The true worth and effectiveness of an office is found when you put people in it. Employees should have a say in their own working environment. Any discomfort is about health and quality of life and can be as equally as harmful to the individual in an office as an injury to someone on a construction site.

Thriving staff reap rewards

The Health and Safety Executive’s latest stats (2021/2022) support this. Of the 1.8 million working people suffering from a work-related illness, 914,000 workers suffered work-related stress, depression, or anxiety and 477,000 workers suffered from a work-related musculoskeletal disorder.

It resulted in 36.8 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury and an estimated cost of injuries and ill health from working conditions of £18.8 billion (2019/20).

For a small, but growing business like ours, a colleague’s absence from work is felt and has implications. That is why we do all we can to ensure that all our team members – whether permanent or temporary – feel happy, valued, safe and supported – from our Health and Safety site induction video to our Time to Play days, from our weekly supply of fresh fruit to our employee-designed offices.

It is all about our people having a powerful sense of belonging and feeling safe which allows them to contribute at their full potential. We know that if we want to thrive as a business, we must provide safe environments in which our workforce can thrive, so we can all reap the rewards of our daily efforts.