Did you know that according to Safe Work Australia estimates, over the past decade more than 2,500 Australian workers have been killed while working? Many more workers have been injured or left disabled due to workplace accidents. That’s why companies of all sizes and in all sectors are keen to reduce their workers’ risks and put a robust occupational health and safety management system in place.
If your organization is committed to workplace safety, you’ve probably heard of OHS management systems before.
Whether you currently have no measures in place or just want to improve your existing OHS system, you may be wondering:
“What are the benefits of an OHS management system?”
That’s exactly the question we’ll aim to answer in this post. We promise to show you the exact benefits that OHS management systems offer and demonstrate how they can help you manage health and safety risks at your organization.
The top 10 benefits of an occupational health and safety management system are:
- Improved health and safety performance
- Reduced cost associated with accidents and incidents
- Improved staff relations and morale
- Improve business efficiency
- Improved public image and PR
- Lower insurance premiums
- Easier access to finance
- Increased regulatory compliance
- Improved confidence
- Boost corporate and social responsibility
So, grab a coffee and clear your schedule for five minutes to join us as we explore these ten exciting benefits of OHS management systems!
1. Improved health and safety performance
There’s absolutely no doubt that adopting a systematic approach to OHS management and using a specific system WILL make managing your business easier!
Having a proper system in place will make your OHS management strategies much more effective.
All of your employees will have a clear understanding of how to handle key activities, whether it’s reporting an incident, responding to an issue, or working through a problem.
When every worker is clear about the precise protocol to follow and everyone uses the same approach every time, your organization’s OHS performance will improve.
With the right OHS management system in place, your organization will have a clear overview of every OHS-related activity that happens on your premises. You’ll have a clear, agreed-upon record of what happened, how it was responded to and what further actions were taken.
2. Reduced cost associated with accidents and incidents
If your organization currently has no OHS management system in place, you’ll be painfully aware of how expensive it can be to correct mistakes and problems.
You see, without a system to track and monitor accidents and incidents, you have no formula for reducing the risks faced by your employees.
Every time an accident occurs, your business will be on the back foot, at the mercy of the consequences.
- Staff compensation claims that push up your insurance premiums
- The cost of hiring temporary staff to plug gaps in your workforce while the injured workers recover.
- And more!
But there are other indirect costs too.
Your workforce is your business’ greatest asset: each accident and incident WILL dent staff morale.
When workers feel that their employer doesn’t take OHS management seriously, they’ll be less likely to engage with their work.
This has a significant knock-on effect when it comes to productivity. A Gartner survey found that workplaces with low moral typically have lower productivity levels.
If nothing else gets your attention, consider how low productivity will affect your organization’s bottom line. Not a pretty picture, right?
A formal OHS management system will help reduce the likelihood of incidents and accidents from occurring and this will, in turn, lower your organization’s costs of dealing with them.
3. Improved staff relations and morale
The third benefit of OHS management systems is that they increase employee satisfaction and help to improve staff relations and morale.
If your organization currently has no OHS management system in place, you may kid yourself into thinking that members of staff haven’t noticed.
But they probably have!
Employees will notice whether their managers are taking a genuine interest in their health and safety.
They may not articulate it, but you’ll notice it in their engagement levels and their on-the-job behaviour.
At one extreme, organizations with no OHS management system in place may see employees engaging in unsafe behaviour on the job, either intentionally or unintentionally. Without a solid safety culture, employee may put their own safety or the safety of others at risk.
All of this changes when a company invests in an OHS management system. Employees will start to feel more comfortable and secure as they’ll have a set of clear OHS practices in place. After completing their training, they’ll know the exact guidelines to follow in any situation, helping them gain confidence while at work.
When you start implementing an OHS management system, you’ll notice that workers’ productivity and morale will improve, employee retention rates will increase and your organization’s growth will rise.
4. Improve business efficiency
Implementing an OHS management system is one of the best ways to improve the efficiency of your business.
Because it reduces your costs almost across the board.
An OHS management system can help you:
- Reduce the number of sick and ill days that your staff take
- Lower the number of temporary workers you need to hire
- Lower insurance premiums
- Increase staff morale and productivity
- Improve staff retention rates
- Reduce training costs (for new and temporary staff)
Improved efficiency SHOULD be a strong incentive for taking action and an OHS management system offers unbeatable advantages compared with having no system or one of limited effectiveness.
A strong OHS management system helps drive down costs in almost every way.
By reducing risk, you’ll have a lower accident and injury rate, helping you avoid the cost of hiring and training temporary workers and having to replace or repair damaged property and equipment.
With fewer accidents to investigate, OHS management systems also reduce the cost of investigating accidents and help you avoid scheduled delays that you’d otherwise encounter.
In the long run, starting an OHS management system is one of the most profitable steps that any organization can take.
5. Improved public image and PR
Whoever coined the phrase “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” obviously never worked in PR for a multinational!
For modern organizations, serious health-related accidents and injuries DO become public and CAN cause irreparable harm to a company’s public image.
When it comes to building brand appeal and gaining new customers, you’re swimming against the tide. The last thing your organization needs is a major incident to detract from your good work.
Consumers are far less likely to trust companies that don’t take their employee’s health and safety seriously.
We saw this recently when news.com.au reported on how McDonald’s allegedly threatened their staff with a toilet and water break ban. Whatever truth lay behind the assertion, the damage to the firm’s public image was done.
That’s why putting in place an OHS management system is a sensible precaution to take. It shows your employees that you value their rights to a safe and healthy working environment and have every intention of respecting this.
Over time, this can help you boost your public image, making staff hiring and retention far easier: a win-win for both you and your employees!
6. Lower insurance premiums
When most businesses start considering a formal OHS management system, one of their first considerations is cost.
While cost is certainly part of the equation, it is important to understand how the outlay is offset by cost savings.
We’ve already discussed the various ways that OHS management systems can save your organization money, such as by reducing employee turnover, lowering temporary workers’ hiring and training costs and driving down the cost of investigating accidents and incidents.
But an important and often overlooked cost-saving can be lower insurance premiums.
In today’s litigation culture, insurance premiums are mandatory, but insurers will offer lower premiums if you can demonstrate that you are effectively controlling risks to your workers on your premises.
If you can use an OHS management system to reduce injuries and illnesses by – say – 20 percent, this is valuable evidence that you can use when you come to renew your premiums. Your organization’s perceived risk is lower and this may result in cost savings through lower insurance premiums.
7. Easier access to finance
Gaining finance from banks and investors is never easy, especially in today’s challenging business climate.
But an OHS management system is an important part of proving to potential investors that your organization is well-managed.
There is strong evidence that banks and investors will be more willing to finance businesses that can show they are well managed.
With fewer accidents and injuries and a set of clear guidelines that help you respond to any incidents that occur, your company will have a healthier bottom line and an improved chance of winning investments that it may otherwise not.
8. Increased regulatory compliance
If there are two words that strike fear into the heart of most business owners, then these two may be it: ‘regulatory compliance’.
Regulations are increasingly stiff and the punishments are ever-fiercer.
For example, the model WHS Act requires that Australian businesses immediately notify their regulator whenever a ‘notifiable’ incident occurs – such as a death, serious accident or injury.
If you have no OHS management system in place, the chances of unwittingly committing an offense are quite high, whether due to negligence or human error.
A proper OHS management system will help ALL of your staff stay aware of current legal requirements. This improves your regulatory compliance and lowers the risk of you having to pay a fine.
9. Improved confidence
A comprehensive OHS management system help ensure that your staff members are more protected from a wide range of threats and health problems, such as:
- Repetitive strain injuries
- The effects of vibration and noise
- Skin diseases
- Asbestos-related diseases
- And more!
When employees feel safe at work, they are more likely to feel confident. As we’ve discussed, this feeds through to many other areas of their work such as productivity, efficiency and retention rates.
Adopting an OHS management system is one way of building confidence that complements other actions you can take. For example, you could apply for an AS/NZS 4801 and/or OHSAS 18001 certification for your business as a way of showing staff that you are committed to workplace safety. These certifications are some of the best routes towards setting up formal procedures for managing health and safety risks.
If employees see that you are actively looking after their health and safety, relations and confidence will improve. This will lead to a more productive, more efficient workforce.
10. Boost corporate and social responsibility
According to a poll from YouGov Omnibus, almost 90 percent of Aussies believe that businesses have a responsibility to do social good. This finding suggests that Australian brands should put corporate social responsibility (CSR) at the heart of their agenda.
Having a strong OHS management system in place is an especially important part of building your brand’s appeal. Over 57 percent of those surveyed said business had a responsibility to ensure that they don’t rely on harmful labour practices such as forced labour. An OHS management policy shows that you value the physical, social and mental well-being of your employees, helping you build your public image.
CSR isn’t just about meeting stakeholder expectations, complying with laws and regulations and following international norms – it’s also about ethical behaviours such as paying attention to worker health. As we saw with Macca’s ‘bathroom-gate’, treating workers with decency and respect is a HUGE part of building brand appeal.
As a business or organization, these ten amazing benefits of adopting an OHS management system should be irresistible. Focusing on employee health and safety can have major ramifications for your business and can impact everything from your profits, to your costs and even your public image.
If you’re keen to learn more about how to put intentions into actions and start investing in your OHS management today, give us a call!