Health and safety law is far too often only associated with big construction businesses using heavy machinery to do dangerous work. The truth, of course, is that workplace safety applies to every workplace. This shouldn’t be a flabbergasting idea, but for many startups, it can be.
For some startups, the very notion that health and safety rules apply to them is strange. There’s some logic to this thinking. If you’re an office-based startup, the most dangerous activity you do in a week could be boiling the kettle for a cup of coffee.
However, what happens if there’s a fire? What happens if someone tears a muscle from not lifting a computer properly? What happens if someone slips and falls on a wet, unmarked floor?
Risk Assessments Are Like Bike Helmets…
Just as no-one wants to have to use a bike helmet, no-one wants to have to rely on the damage control clauses of a risk assessment. The idea is that these clauses of the risk assessment are there for when you need them. After all, sometimes, the worst happens.
Of course, a well-written risk assessment is also there to prevent the worst from happening. Once again, while you might imagine your office is a very safe place, the aim of a risk assessment is to make sure it is.
This is a chance to redecorate or redesign an otherwise inefficient office space. After all, a workplace which is safer is likely to be a workplace which is more streamlined. In this sense, workplace safety isn’t some “other” consideration which is apart from “real business”. Rather, workplace safety is real business.
Good Safety Is Good PR And Good Business
Safety helps your employees to work better. In turn, this helps to make your business more money. Of course, making your business safe is also the ethical thing to do, and this should be motivation enough.
Similarly, while you definitely shouldn’t be solely motivated by the notion that a safe business is better for PR, it’s a fact that it is. United Airlines, Sports Direct, and Amazon have all come under fire because of PR disasters related to a careless attitude towards customer or employee well-being. Safety is paramount for many reasons, and PR is yet another one of those reasons.
Like Everything Else, Safety Is An Investment
According to HSE, workplace injuries and illnesses cost the British economy over £14 billion each year. This includes the costs of the fines associated with breaking workplace safety law, but also the lost days from workers who would have otherwise been fit to work.
With that in mind, spending money on things like floor safety inspections or warehouse racking inspection courses shouldn’t be seen as a cost. It should be seen as an investment. By spending money on safety, you are attempting to recapture some of that £14 billion.
If Netflix and Amazon can build their businesses by investing big and making back their profit later down the line, so too can your startup with regards to safety. If you invest correctly, the money you spend has the potential to be paid back tenfold.
Potential customers will see how safety makes your business an ethical one to buy from. Potential employees will see how safety makes your business a good place to work. And potential investors see how safety makes your business a steady and reliable investment. All of that will help you to make money.
Investing in safety shouldn’t be such a radical idea. In fact, investing in safety couldn’t be less radical. Safety is about security and stability. Safety is about guaranteeing that nothing in your business goes awry. Safety is about making sure that everyone in your business is able to work. It’s qualities like that which make safety not just a necessary investment, but a great investment.
About the Author:
The owner of a warehouse racking inspection and racking inspection training business, Justin O’Sullivan travels across the UK and Ireland ensuring that SMEs and big business as safe as they can be. He is the founder of Storage Equipment Experts and a SEMA approved racking inspector.