Why Health and Safety Compliance is Important to Employers
Health and Safety Compliance refers to the means of conforming to a rule, either a specification, policy, or a standard and/or law. Regulatory compliance, more specifically, describes an organization’s goal in ensuring that they are aware of and take steps to comply with relevant laws, policies, and regulations.
As a prevalent business concern, compliance requires that companies remain vigilant in maintaining a full understanding of their regulatory compliance requirements, especially since the number of regulations are ever-increasing.
Health and safety compliance involve the implementation, promotion, and maintenance of the highest level of physical, mental, and social wellbeing of all employees in the workplace.
By ensuring Health and Safety Compliance, adverse health issues, injuries, illnesses, and death through working conditions and as result of hazards and risks in the workplace can be greatly reduced and even eliminated, where reasonably practicable.
There are numerous challenges which may be faced in implementing, promoting, and maintaining health and safety compliance but once the necessary steps are taken to ensure a healthy and safe working environment, there are numerous benefits which can be reaped by both employers and employees.
In addition to this, another important factor of health and safety compliance is that it adequately equips employees in safeguarding their own health and safety.
Workplace health and safety is not optional but compulsory. It is for this reason that the Department of Labour enforces it through various Acts, predominantly through the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Benefits of Health and Safety Compliance
Health and Safety compliance is imperative to all employers. Unfortunately, a misconception of “it will never happen to me and does not really apply to me” still exists.
However, despite this mentality, the Occupational Health and Safety Act is applicable to everyone. Despite the various industries in South Africa and the differences in OHS strategies for each, it is imperative for all legitimate businesses to have an adequate safety plan in place.
Every country has its own Act to govern the way in which businesses operate, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993, is the governing act as far as health and safety compliance is concerned, and adherence is compulsory.
Employees have the right to a working environment which is free from known hazards such as exposure to mechanical dangers, heat or cold stress, excessive noise levels, exposure to toxic chemicals, unsanitary conditions, and any other factors which may prove to be detrimental to the health and/or safety of employees.
The best way in which employers can ensure that they are compliant is by conducting either an internal or an external audit. While internal audits serve as the best management tool, when done correctly, external audits remain the golden standard to determine health and safety compliance.
SafetyWallet offers the perfect solution with an all-encompassing package which has the necessary tools and support that businesses need, despite their nature of business, size, or type.
When subscribed to SafetyWallet, new subscribers can make use of the Health and Safety compliance audit to determine their level of compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act as well as identify, address, and improve on findings where weaknesses or challenges exist.
In making use of SafetyWallet, employers can experience the numerous benefits that being fully compliant delivers.
1. Less Employee Turnover and Absenteeism
When issues with Occupational Health and Safety are addressed, employers can expect to see an improved employee turnover and reduced absenteeism. Issues such as these tend to contribute greatly to operational costs and can damper productivity if they are not addressed accordingly.
2. Improved Morale
When employees have improved morale as result of improved working conditions where health and safety matters are addressed, they can cope with stress and change better.
In addition to this, improvements in morale also results in increased productivity and improved functionality in the workplace environment overall.
3. Increased productivity and job satisfaction
As previously noted, increased productivity is a direct benefit and obvious advantage as a safer and healthier workplace increases productivity and therefore leads to more profitability, which increases the employee morale as well when they can see that working safely pays off.
4. Fewer Injuries and less COIDA (WCA) compensation
When there are injuries on duty, employees may be unable to work for a period, depending on the severity of the injury. In addition to this, the employer is legally obliged via Workman’s Compensation to cover the medical costs for treatment as well as paying the employee’s salary while they recover.
With the reduction of injuries, illness, and death, there is a substantial cost reduction across the board.
5. Reduced COIDA costs, fines, and litigation
When Occupational Health and Safety is addressed and managed correctly, there is a substantial reduction in the rate of incidents and accidents. This means that there are reduced COIDA costs.
The risk of fines is reduced along with litigation fees when there is full health and safety compliance in the workplace.
6. Improved Corporate image and culture
A company which shows compliance with health and safety has an improved image as well as a strong safety culture. It goes toward positive public relations as well as increases the ability of a company to attract and retained skilled workers as well as customers.
7. ROI as a SafetyWallet subscriber
A lot of employers may consider whether investing in health and safety compliance strategies will improve the bottom line of the company. Even though the benefits are difficult to quantify, there is always a visible increase in the return on investment (ROI).
ROI is an imperative tool of measurement over a certain period as it can affect any future business decisions. With SafetyWallet, which already has more than 1,000 subscribers across South Africa, there are already numerous businesses that can attest to a substantial improvement in their ROI and cost-savings for health and safety in their business.
Although not all positive impacts experienced through health and safety compliance can be seen in the ledger book of a company, they can be observed by everyday operations and in the reputation of the company, and the morale of its employees.