Benefits of Better Health and Safety Standards
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, in partnership with a network of Euro Info Centres has launched a new website to provide businesses with good practice information on occupational safety and health at work.
The website – http://osha.eu.int/priority_groups/business – enables businesses to quickly find relevant information on health and safety legislation and includes a special section for SMEs to guide them to sources of advisory services and good practice to ease the compliance process.
Statistics released by the Health and Safety Commission in November 2005 show that in 2004/2005 levels of various workplace incidences fell by eight per cent on the previous year but companies must continue to do more to improve health and safety standards in UK work places.
Last year in the UK 220 workers were killed and 30,213 workers suffered major injuries whilst a further 120,346 other employee injuries led to their being off work for more than three days.
As a result British business lost 35 million working days overall in 2004/05 and the cost is estimated to run into billions of pounds – 2001 figures from the Health and Safety Executive stated that the cost to business was up to GBP2.8bn from workplace injuries.
Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, Director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work said: "If you run a company, especially a small one, you may be misled into thinking that securing safety and health is difficult and costly. In fact it is the other way round as the business cases we have looked into demonstrate that higher safety and health standards lead to higher productivity. This is the message we would like to send to companies across Europe".
Maive Rute, the European Commission’s SME Envoy and Director responsible for the Euro Info Centres network confirmed an increasing interest among SMEs in safety and health issues: "Small companies often find it difficult to ‘translate’ and absorb new regulations into their daily operations. By pooling the resources and expertise of Euro Info Centres and the network run by the European Agency, we are better equipped to address their practical needs."
The new website offers firms a collection of good practice examples, which they may easily and economically implement in their workplaces. A directory of national sub-sites provides access to safety and health regulations at the national level.
In addition the website offers an overview of recent studies into business aspects of occupational safety and health, such as Corporate Social Responsibility, the impact on productivity and economic incentives for safety and health.