Close attention to health and safety not only saves lives but also has a positive impact on a company's bottom line, according to a new handbook from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
In 'The Health and Safety Administration Handbook', John Forsaith and Nick Townsend argue that a proactive approach to health and safety contributes to added value in any organisation. As well as protecting employees and
others from harm and illness, such an approach enables organisations to improve operational efficiency, protect their assets, comply with legislation and enhance their public image.
With work-related injuries and ill-health currently costing UK plc's between £3.5 billion and £7.3 billion in insurance premiums, awards for damages and the loss of a staggering 30 million working days each year, sound health and safety administration can help organisations make substantial savings. But it takes much more than the odd poster on a
notice board to create a healthy and safe working environment. Awareness of health and safety matters has to pervade the entire organisation.
"It cannot be isolated, ring-fenced or the prerogative of the few," say Forsaith and Townsend. "It is a matter for everyone, because everyone's actions and behaviour reflect the culture of the organisation - be that a 'safe' or 'unsafe' one."
Written by practitioners for practitioners, The Health and Safety Administration Handbook is a practical and easy-to-follow guide to the design and implementation of effective health and safety systems. Drawing on their experience of assisting organisations with health and safety matters, the authors consider a wide range of issues, including risk
assessment, training and accident reporting and investigation. The handbook also provides a comprehensive but highly accessible overview of the large and growing body of legislation and regulations governing health and safety.
A highly useful feature of this CIPD publication is the accompanying floppy disk containing templates for forms, policy statements and procedures. Designed to be adapted to the needs of individual organisations, these documents range from risk assessment forms to model policies on alcohol, noise, smoking and work-related upper limb disorders.
Such policies do not, of course, add up to a panacea whose adoption will automatically turn an unsafe working environment into a safe one. However, as the authors point out: "The consistent application of appropriate administrative systems in this field makes a real and sustainable contribution not only to employee health and safety but also to the trading efficiency and success of the organisation."