All organisations and employers have an obligation to create a healthy, safe and prepared workplace for all their employees to work in. Occupational Health and Safety or abbreviated OH&S, is the topic and content that needs to be trained in order for the health and safety team to create a Health and Safety compliance environment. OH&S training will ensure that everyone, both the employer and the employees are aware of OH&S in general, what their OH&S roles and responsibilities are and being competent in these as well. Fortunately, Health and safety compliance has a moral, legal and financial benefit to all organisations as well, so it is a win-win scenario for everyone!
A definition of health and safety could be: Looking after the short and long term physical and mental health and wellbeing of all employees at work, by preventing any form of work related illness and injury from occurring.
What are the Benefits of Health and Safety Compliance?
There are moral, legal and financial benefits to organisations that implement and maintain health and safety compliance management systems, or procedures and processes.
- Moral Benefit: Employers have a moral obligation to look after the wellbeing of all employees, visitors and contractors at work, as required by government and society. Injuring or causing the death of people while at work could cause serious reputational damage to the organisation, as it is morally unacceptable not to look after workplace health and safety, or the health, safety and wellbeing of workers.
- Legal benefits: It is law and a government requirement for all organisations and companies to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993. By implementing general and accepted health and safety compliance standards, organisations would comply with the act and law. This should prevent possible criminal and civil legal action being instituted against the organisation, Chief Executive Officer, management, or the employer for occupational safety and health non-compliance.
- Financial Benefits: Implementing OH&S compliance can contribute as much as 10% to the bottom line. This can be as a result of securing work and tenders, preventing unnecessary costs such as sick leave, overtime replacements, production losses, increased insurance premiums, loss of stock and materials, legal penalties and fines etc.
Reasons Why OH&S Training is Important
In addition to the important moral, legal and financial benefits of health and safety compliance, there are also other reasons to train the workforce in OH&S.
- Home and personal benefits: First aid and firefighting OHS training are two health and safety compliance training courses, which when completed at work will also benefit delegates in their personal home environment as well. Often skills learnt at work do come in handy at home, especially life saving courses such as these.
- Employee participation and consultation: Training employees in specific courses such as incident investigation or risk assessment for work safety requirements, naturally facilitates better employee participation at work, with management and fellow employees. It builds a feeling of belonging, participation and responsibility and also opens better consultation and communication channels between employees and management, which is a health and safety compliance requirement.
- Improves OH&S Culture: Training management and employees in courses such as Health and Safety – Supervisor or Representative, which cover a range of OH&S topics such as looking after the occupational health of the workforce, health safety and compliance etc, improves the organisations OH&S culture. Employees realize that management cares and is trying to better and improve the work environment and look after their wellbeing. This naturally assist in building a positive OH&S culture.
- Reduces workplace risks: Training employees from different departments in OH&S risk assessment courses will ensure that the workplace risks are identified and that the required controls are put in place to reduce workplace risk of injury and illness to employees.
- Claiming back on Skills Development Levy: Sending employees to attend OH&S training courses at an accredited training provider like Absolute Health Services, will enable your organisation to claim back a large portion of the skills development levy that is paid every month. The funds claimed back can reduce the training cost as much as 40%. These are just some of the reasons for conducting OH&S and health and safety training, there are many more that can be added, the benefits definitely outway the negatives.
OH&S training is an OHS Act legal compliance requirement, because it up-skills employees who attend to assist the employer in creating a healthy, safe and prepared working environment. This is important for the organisation, the employee and their family. Remember health and safety compliance is not an option, it is an obligation.