Sadly an often neglected part of workplace health and safety is allocating money in the company budget to address health and safety needs.
While we often address the issue of workplace health and safety mishaps and incidents that occur as a result of safety failures, we often fail to recognise the underlying cause of safety neglect. Very often the cause of these incidents is simple, failure on the part of employers to implement the necessary safety precautions or address the hazards associated with work on the site, either due to a lack of time or money or both.
Employers need to recognise that they could end up losing more money from accidents than it would cost to invest in proper safety. Also remember the unexpected costs that accompany these accidents are often crippling to a business, including destruction to property, legal fees, fines from authorities and setbacks in the project.
In addition to their legal obligation to provide workers with a safe work environment and system of work, they should also remember that allocating sufficient money in the budget to safety, makes good financial sense.
A recent blog on the Construction website Sourceable.net highlighted 6 aspects of workplace health and safety that should be considered when developing the budget. The article’s writer highlights the importance of ensuring incidents are prevented because this is where the “true savings” come in. In fact the two most precious things to companies, time and money can be saved by avoiding injuries and workplace accidents in the first place.
The writer also highlights that having the right safety systems in place also assists companies become preferred suppliers.
Training of workers should be considered as a priority in the budget. Training in the construction sector begins with General Construction Safety training known as the White Card course, a nationally recognised certification mandated under federal workplace health and safety laws. Every employee on a construction site whether engaging in landscape work, bricklayer, project management or delivering building materials to a building site must be in possession of a valid White Card to ensure that they know the basics of construction safety.
Ensuring that workers have received the adequate safety training is vital not only to enhancing site safety but also to ensuring that workers aren’t a liability to the company, a danger to themselves and a threat to the safety of their co-workers. In the long run investing in good quality safety training will save a company more money than it would cost them.
Some of the other areas of safety that should be featured in the budget, according to the writer of the Sourceable.net blog include:
2) New equipment and repairs
Budget for the maintenance of your systems you use for work, plant and machinery. Is there a safety concern around any of the systems used? Put the cost of the fix in your budget.
3) Protective equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is subject to wear and tear. Take an inventory of all your PPE and budget for repairs and replacements.
Workplace electrical equipment needs to be tagged and tested. What vehicle maintenance will be required over the next 12 months?
As many employers and managers begin working on next year’s budgets hopefully we will all pay more attention to safety requirements and the long term benefits of allocating a sufficient amount of the budget to safety.