World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2023
The 2023 World Day for Safety and Health at Work will be commemorated on 28 April 2023 and will explore the topic of a safe and healthy working environment as a fundamental principle and right at work.
This theme encourages and places a legal duty on employers to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety, and welfare of employees, and to ensure that employees and others are kept safe.
Workplace health and safety is all about sensibly managing risks to protect your workers and your business. Good health and safety management is characterized by strong leadership involving your managers, workers, suppliers, contractors and customers.
The discipline that goes into a safety program will spill over into production and quality control. People will be more aware of safety and how they do their jobs. I believe it will work to our benefit with production and quality.
The main goal of safety and health programs is to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths, as well as the suffering and financial hardship these events can cause for workers, their families, and employers. The recommended practices use a proactive approach to managing workplace safety and health. Traditional approaches are often reactive –that is, problems are addressed only after a worker is injured or becomes sick, a new standard or regulation is published, or an outside inspection finds a problem that must be fixed. These recommended practices recognize that finding and fixing hazards before they cause injury or illness is a far more effective approach.
Employers will find that implementing these recommended practices also brings other benefits. Safety and health programs help businesses:
• Prevent workplace injuries and illnesses
• Improve compliance with laws and regulations
• Reduce costs, including significant reductions in workers’ compensation premiums
• Engage workers
• Enhance their social responsibility goals
• Increase productivity and enhance overall business operations
Benefits of a Good Health and Safety Culture at the Workplace
1. It is morally right to ensure your workers return home safe and healthy at the end of every working day.
2. By protecting your workers, you reduce absences, ensuring that your workplace is more efficient and productive.
3. Research shows that workers are more productive in workplaces that are committed to health and safety.
4. Reducing down-time caused by illness and accidents means less disruption – and saves your business money.
5. In some countries, health and safety legislation is criminal law and you are legally obliged to comply with it. Legal breaches can result in prosecution, fines and even imprisonment of senior executives.
6. To attract investors and partnerships you may need to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility, which will include how you protect your workers.
7. Increasingly, customers want to buy products and services that are produced ethically – so you also need to think about the work practices throughout your supply chain and deal only with ethical suppliers that protect their workforce.
8. More and more, job hunters – particularly Millennials and Generation Z – seek roles with employers who share their values, so without strong corporate responsibility and sustainability practices you may struggle to attract or retain the best employees.
9. A good health and safety record is a source of competitive advantage: it builds trust in your reputation and brand, while poor health and safety performance will directly affect profitability and can result in loss of trade or even closure of the business.
10. Good health and safety at work secures long-term benefits for you, your business and the wider community.
STEPS TO IMPROVE A HEALTH AND SAFETY CULTURE AT YOUR WORKPLACE
1. Conduct a thorough risk management. This well create a picture of the hazards and risks available and help mitigate prevention and management measures.
2. Lead from the top. Workers are much more likely to get involved and comply with controls if senior management make it clear that health and safety is taken seriously by your business. Actively discourage negative behaviors such as taking risks to save time or effort.
3. Improve health and safety competence in your business. Organize training and awareness sessions to meet your needs at all levels.
4. Get your workers involved in risk assessment: this will increase ‘buy-in’ and ownership of their own health and safety. Set up health and safety representatives, and if they are already established, support them more visibly.
5. Implement a health and safety management system for your business. This should include an overall policy setting out your commitment, responsibilities allocated to individuals and your arrangements detailing how you will actually control your risks.
Successful safety and health systems have the following in place:
• Managers committed to making the program work.
• Employees involved in the program.
• A system to identify and control hazards.
• Compliance with OSHA regulations.
• Training on safe work practices.
• Mutual respect, caring and open communication in a climate conducive to safety.
• Continuous improvement .
Safety is both an individual and collective responsibility that starts with Me/You/Us and is as simple as ABC (Always Be Careful). As an Ambassador of Safety my mission is to help build a culture of Safety at all places and all the time.
To acquire quality Safety products to help you build a culture of Safety please visit the Nairobi Safety House or shop online via www.nairobisafetyshop.org.
You can access my Safety Blogs, manual and free material via www.ambstevembugua.co.ke