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 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 more significant 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 cut 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 massive difference to a company’s financial stability.
- Increased productivity
The British Safety Council drew on industry research to explain that employees who focus on health and well being 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 results 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.
- 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.
“Directors must have an understanding of the role safety performance plays in the performance of their business. In accepting corporate responsibility for health and safety, directors need to be proactive in developing a positive safety culture for their workplace. In the long-term, this leads to an internal cultural shift that can have an indirect impact on external brand affinity and brand loyalty.” according to David Rowland, Head of Marketing at Effective Software