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Health And Safety: The 3 Risks Your Business Can’t Afford To Take

Taking risks and being an effective business leader go hand in hand, so we’re told.

11Nov

Just look at Richard Branson and Virgin or Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook – both are responsible for leading their companies to global triumph and both have infamous reputations as courageous decision-makers.

The Facebook CEO is even quoted as saying: 'In a world that’s changing so quickly, the biggest risk you can take is not taking any risk.'

But whilst making educated leaps of faith and continually challenging the norm might be the key to successful innovation, there are some areas of business where no one can afford to take risks.

Learning when not to take risks

Yup, we’re talking about health and safety.

Failing to look after your employees – and yourself – will quickly halt your hard-won progress, not least because the financial impact involved is one that few businesses can withstand.

As new statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reveal, workplace injuries and ill-health cost UK employers £2.8 billion last year alone.

So you can continue to experiment with creative new products or revolutionary ideas without being interrupted by expensive injuries or absences, we’ve highlighted three health and safety risks you can’t afford to take.

#1: ignoring mental wellbeing

The stigma around mental health, particularly in professional environments, makes it easy to forget the impact of illnesses like stress, depression or anxiety on the daily running of your business.

But statistics from last year show that they led to 17 million sick days in the UK alone. Being sensitive towards the varying needs of your staff members, both mental and physical, is key for avoiding such absences and building an inclusive culture.

Creating a workplace which teaches employees stress management skills and supports any team members suffering from mental health problems will lead to a friendlier and more nurturing atmosphere – great for boosting confidence and productivity.

#2: being complacent about working conditions

Poor working conditions are a major cause of accidents. Regularly undergoing risk assessments – and tackling any issues raised head on – will help you keep a handle on any potential threats.

Remember that hazards may be contained within your building itself. Asbestos is a big problem, especially for the construction industry. Hiring an asbestos sampling service to identify any possible sources will put your mind at rest.

Another danger to bear in mind is exhaustion. Encouraging employees to take appropriate rest breaks throughout the day and having a thorough annual leave policy is crucial in this regard.

#3: overlooking first aid arrangements

Although offices seem like relatively safe places in comparison to factories or work yards, accidents still happen. It’s your responsibility to ensure all ill or injured employees are well looked after.

There are varying regulations in place depending on the nature of your business, but as a standard minimum, you should aim to have a fully stocked first-aid box on the premises and personnel who’re qualified and confident enough to administer first-aid in an emergency.

This also includes reassuring unwell staff members that paid sick days are on offer. After all, coming into work when you’re battling a cold will only spread germs to everyone else, potentially causing further absences.

When you’re aiming to beat competitors like Facebook or Virgin, taking chances is essential, but it’s just as important to know when not to. Start with these three steps and be conscious of the health and safety risks which threaten to disrupt your

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