Health and safety is a little bit like air; you don’t really notice it until it’s gone.
It’s probably seen as one of the least sexy, most humdrum of operations, but boy would people have something to say about it if they were suddenly working or living in an unsafe environment.
It’s not about replacing HR staff, it’s about freeing them up for the functions which really need the soft skills or keen eye of an actual person. It’s such a document-driven environment that the burden of administration could completely swallow up any time that the team could actually have to spend with and listen to workers; the heartbeat of the business.
A lack of it can, and does, topple empires. Over recent years, convictions for corporate manslaughter have instilled fear in senior leadership teams in an array of highly regulated industries. Publicised issues have just about destroyed certain brands, alienating large percentages of customers and seriously affecting the bottom line for a huge number of businesses.
I wonder what the statistics are for people no longer wanting to visit Alton Towers. Merlin’s profits crashed and the company was fined £5 million. That tragic accident and the long term consequences for those injured was as a result of a flaw in the company’s health and safety processes which shouldn’t have existed.
Gaining customer trust and loyalty for many companies is about making that customer feel comfortable putting their wellbeing and safety into the company’s hands. When you think about it, this is relevant for a huge amount of industries, including hospitality, entertainment and the food and beverage industry.
It’s not just about making customers feel comfortable either. It’s about making employees feel nurtured, supported and cared for.
It’s such a process-driven operation, it’s almost impossible to keep on top of it unless it is automated in some way. The main problem being that just about anything can be a health and safety hazard: spillages, trip hazards, lack of equipment, out-of-date qualifications. The list is endless.
It’s not just necessary, for example, to ask that someone wears goggles when performing a certain task. It needs to be documented that they were asked, the goggles need to be available, and often, there needs to be a record of the employee having warn them.
That’s a lot of effort for one person to wear goggles and a heck of a lot of hassle if there are 1000s of workers who need to wear certain equipment or follow certain processes. Automation can streamline a lot of these operations and make them easier to follow.
Easy-to-use applications can help encourage all employees to take some ownership of their own health and safety, rather than just a small team of professionals being responsible for the whole show. Employee buy-in is the easiest way to keep health and safety on track and good automation is the best way to get that buy-in.