The Manager's Guide to Health and Safety at Work

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The Manager's Guide to Health and Safety at Work

Health and safety at work is, for many managers, a difficult subject. Apart
from being steeped in the law, which can be difficult to interpret, it
requires a broad knowledge of many disciplines, such as psychology, engineering,
chemistry, ergonomics and medicine, each of which is a subject

of study in its own right.
Individual attitudes to health and safety, and indeed the corporate attitudes
of organisations, may vary substantially. Is health and safety just a
question of complying with the law? Should an organisation that likes to
think of itself as caring, promote health and safety as part of that caring
philosophy? Or should health and safety be seen as an important feature
of the business operation aimed at reducing the losses associated with
accidents, ill health, etc?

Increasingly, as we move towards a quality-orientated approach to our
business activities, it will be seen that health and safety is an integral
feature of such an approach. Everyone has a role to play in the
management of quality. Accidents, ill health, sickness absence and
damage-producing incidents feature in the ‘price of non-conformance’ –
an important measure in quality management.
How much did accidents and sickness absence cost your organisation
last year? What is the cost of your current employer’s and occupier’s
liability insurance? Have you recently been prosecuted and fined for
breaches of health and safety legislation? There is no doubt that accidents
and sickness represent substantial losses to any company. A meagre 10 per
cent reduction in these costs can be significant. A 20 per cent reduction
would be marvellous.

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