Why Health and Safety is Important to the UK PEOPLE
Whatever kind of business you have, there is always the risk of an accident or damage to
anybody's health. All work exposes worker to hazards, It can be: toxic substances; dangerous
machinery; electricity; loads which have to be manually handled working with display screen
equipment or even psychological hazards such as stress.
The reason there are not even more accidents and diseases caused by work is because systems
of prevention are in place which have been built up over generations. Safety does not come
about by accident: most accidents happen because they have not been prevented. Yet despite
all the precautions that are taken in the UK, there are still over 640, 000 1 Â workplace injuries
every year as well as 1.8 million 2 Â cases of ill health caused or made more by work.
27 million working days were lost cause to work-related illness and injury In 2011/12.Â 1
yet small businesses have accidents. Accident rates in small businesses can be higher than in
Giving importance to health and safety is not just about being responsible. It also makes good
business sense and you should regard it as just as important as the achievement of any other
key business objective.
Working out what modern health and safety law means for your business can be quite a
problem. Yes, on the face of it there do seem to be a lot of regulations and there is a lot of
supporting guidance, but the underlying principles are really quite straightforward.
For most part the law sets out certain health and safety goals to be achieved and indicates appropriate
'benchmarks' to help you work out whether your controls are up to 'reasonably practicable' standards.
There is an underlying requirement to reduce or eliminate hazards at source, or isolate people from
them before using other forms of control. Relying on the use of personal protective equipment – like
respirators or protective footwear – is a last resort and is only acceptable when all other options have
if you are the kind of person in overall control of your business, 'the buck stops with you', you cannot
achieve a safe and healthy working environment on your own. It has to be a team effort and you need to
consult your employees and, where appointed, their safety representatives. You need to get proper
health and safety co-ordination going with other businesses with which you come into contact such as
clients, customers, suppliers or contractors. You need to build ownership and commitment to safety
throughout your workforce.