How improving health and safety practices help small businesses

The Institute of Work and Health explains that while small businesses often benefit most from health and safety practices, many are unaware of health and safety regulations. As a result, workers are often left to make their own health and safety decisions. Small businesses, however, are often most vulnerable to accidents or health risks which can place a business at risk. This article therefore explores how improving health and safety practices can be good for small businesses.

  • Financial benefits

The British Safety Council shares that companies who implement safety and wellness programs benefit from a reduced employee absenteeism, which cuts profits. This is particularly true for small businesses, who often rely on a small group of core staff. Small businesses often have lower levels of financial instability. This means that missed hours due to accidents or ill health will have a greater impact on financial health.

  • Reduced employee turnover

Small businesses often rely on recruiting talented employees, who are trained to meet company needs. Lost time training new staff or replacing old staff members cuts down on productivity. Employees who witness an accident in the workplace, will often become concerned and search for a new job. Likewise, employers who battle with ill health may seek out work which requires less strength or commitment. Taking care of employee health and wellness, as well as ensuring employee safety cuts staff turnover, making a huge difference to a company’s financial stability.

  • Increased productivity

The British Safety Council drew on industry research in order to explain that employees who focus on health and wellbeing often eat better, have improved fitness and are in overall better health. This results in improved employee productivity. International research showed that employees showed improved motivation, improved content of work and a more positive work atmosphere. Each of these factors result in an improved work performance overall.

  • Enhanced company image

Companies who take care of their staff reduce the possibility of accidents. They will also create a healthy atmosphere, where staff members can flourish. This is particularly important for small businesses, who often lack the competitive resources a larger business has when attracting talented staff members. By focusing on workplace health and safety, a small business can establish themselves as an employer of choice. However, by neglecting health and safety, a small business can place itself at risk of accidents or fatalities that it will not easily recover from. Small businesses have it relatively easy in comparison to larger organisations, such as those in the healthcare sector where compliance is an ongoing process.

  • Improved workplace creativity

In order to work towards innovation, Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, shares that companies need to develop an atmosphere of safety and trust. Each employee needs to feel free to have a voice, and employees need to feel like a vital part of the business. The Institute for Work and Health shares that in small businesses, employees and owners often work side by side, working towards business growth. However, any accidents may be distracting or upsetting for employees. The British Safety Council shares that creativity or innovation depends on focus. Distractions through accidents or ill health will reduce creativity in staff. This reduces a company’s trust, innovation and creativity. The result is the lack of growth vital for any small business to survive.

There are a number of reasons why it is wise for a small business to invest in the health and safety of its employees. As a small business, financial stability, company image, creativity and productivity are vital. In order to create an atmosphere of safety and trust, a company needs to implement health and safety strategies. This will protect employees and ensure company growth.

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