International market research firm, YouGov, has found that nearly two thirds of senior executives and decision-makers of SMEs find it hard to invest in health and safety because of policy barriers. Businesses also complained at constraints in time and cost though principally targeted the distinct lack of a health and safety culture when it comes to commerce.
The research, carried out on behalf of Seton, one of the worldâs leading manufacturers and distributors of health and safety and facilities management solutions, found that 20% of employers thought that there was too much emphasis on government policy and regulation and that compliance was was an exercise in hoop-jumping rather than proper conduct. As a result, 13% of employers also said that their employees were reluctant to follow procedures in place.
A somewhat alarming fifth of senior executives and decision-markers insisted that it just wasn’t that important in their particular industry. Of those deploring the significance of health and safety were businesses in the construction industry despite the sector being characterised by high levels of risk in terms of long-term occupational health and one-off injury (or lost time accidents). One in every ten construction worker asked said health and safety was not that important.
Various businesses have stepped forward to assert their opposition to the findings of the report and express their support for health and safety â in practice and policy. Stephen Thomas, Health and Safety Technical Consultant at Croner Solutions insisted that it must be considered a core business issue from which businesses stand to gain. He also corroborated the suggestions made by YouGovâs survey, advising that invoking a culture was less about form-filling and bureaucracy and more about identify real-life risks and being proactive in mitigating those risks.
He added that such an approach need not be costly and that, by improving health and safety awareness and practice, businesses would also find they were more efficient and more productive. Not only could companies spend less time fearing HSE audits or retribution, but they would also benefit from a more motivated team, less inclined to take absence.
With the benefits laid out for all to see, it surely canât be long until a positive health and safety culture is the rule and not the exception.