IOSH: can businesses do more to protect workers?
The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) today poses a question to the world’s businesses: can you do more to protect your workers?
An estimated 2.78 million people die every year around the world from an occupational accident or work-related illness. Meanwhile, 374 million people are involved in non-fatal accidents.
“It is vital we all act to protect workers in our workplaces and across our supply chains,” said Ruth Wilkinson, Head of Health and Safety at IOSH. “We encourage a holistic approach to preventing deaths due to occupational injuries through multi-faceted governmental and corporate prevention strategies.
“This therefore comes down to good, robust health and safety management within a business, with strong leadership and commitment, worker involvement, risk management and controls, competency and so on, with the aim of preventing and managing occupational safety and health risks.
“That is why we are asking businesses around the world to look at what they are doing to protect workers and ask themselves if there are any opportunities for improvement and if they can do more.”
Two annual awareness days coincide with each other later this week. International Workers’ Memorial Day remembers those who have lost their lives through work, while World Day for Safety and Health at Work promotes the prevention of work-related accidents and illnesses globally. Both are held on Thursday 28 April.
As well as asking businesses to review their occupational safety and health (OSH), IOSH is also providing advice around the principles of good health and safety management, including top tips for bosses to consider.
The tips are:
- secure and demonstrate commitment to OSH by implementing OSH management systems that prevent workplace injuries and ill health and improves compliance with laws and regulations;
- engage with workers and their representatives and communicate constructively about workplace risks, OSH policies and procedures;
- listen to worker concerns and provide answers;
- and ensure that adequate resources are identified and available for managing worker health and wellbeing, such as welfare arrangements and development of wellbeing programmes.
The Institution says risk management should be proportionate and sensible and proper application creates a happier and healthier workplace and leads to lower staff turnover while minimizing the risk of fines and boosting productivity and reputation.
“Good health and safety management is characterised by strong, proactive and visible leadership from senior management and involving all managers, workers, suppliers, contractors and customers, and it’s about driving a positive health and safety culture,” added Ruth. “In a global context, health and safety is also an essential part of the movement towards sustainable development.
“In the current world of work, organisations cannot be sustainable without protecting the safety, health and wellbeing of their most vital resource – workers. Socially sustainable organisations are those that prioritise the adoption of person-centred approaches to everything they do. The protection of workers’ safety, health and wellbeing can motivate workforces, enhance business reputation and reduce business risks.
“This leads to increased reduction in costs, increased profitability and social standing, together with increased reputation for corporate responsibility throughout the supply chain (customers and communities) and investors.”
In November last year, IOSH launched its Catch the Wave campaign to demonstrate how looking after people is key to ensuring the sustainability of a business and how OSH is crucial to this.