A specific level of employee safety in the workplace has been a legal requirement in the United Kingdom, ever since the Health and Safety Act 1974came into effect. The details of the act clearly outline the key duties and responsibilities of every business owner and senior manager, when it comes to safeguarding employee health and safety. It is a subject in which there are no grey areas, no room for dispute and no flexibility. Employers must comply with applicable health and safety law, or face the consequences.
Right now, businesses of most shapes and sizes appoint their own health and safety supervisors, managers or teams. Their responsibility is to ensure that the business and its health and safety policies comply with those set out by UK law. Workplace health and safety has a direct impact on overall efficiency, productivity, profitability and business stability. As such, those working in a health and safety capacity contribute directly the organisation’s success.
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For an insightful introduction to the world of workplace health and safety, we offer a high-quality Level 2 Safety in the Workplace certificate – ideal for business owners, existing employees and jobseekers alike.
Workplace health and safety is a uniquely important subject - it is both relevant and a key priority in every business and organisation in the UK. Across public and private sectors alike, employers are required by law to make employee health and safety their number-one priority. Nevertheless, the figures paint a picture of a widespread workplace culture where health and safety management still has a long way to go.
In the UK alone, no less than 1.2 million people are known to be suffering from a work-related illness. Along with around 76,000 workplace injuries that are recorded under RIDDOR annually, no less than 142 employees are killed in the workplace. The Labour Force Survey pegs the number of total workplace injuries (recorded and un-recorded) at around 611,000 per year. Due to workplace-related illness and injuries alone, a full 27.3 million working days are lost every year – equating to a cost of around £14.3 billion.
Unsurprisingly, those with extensive workplace health and safety training represent standout candidates for recruitment or promotion in the eyes of employers.
Studying workplace health and safety can be extremely beneficial, whether looking to begin a new career or already in employment. It is the kind of subject most believe they have a reasonably good understanding of – the figures above demonstrating that this clearly isn’t the case. While much of the subject comes down to simple common sense, there is a great deal of essential theory and legislation that must be studied in-depth.
Just a few of the benefits of studying workplace health and safety include:
1 – Universal Relevance
Regardless of where you choose to work, a strong understanding of workplace health and safety will always give you an edge over the competition. It is one of the few subjects that are universally relevant to every business and organisation bar none.
2 – Promotion Prospects
If you are already working, a recognised health and safety qualification could prove effective in enhancing promotion prospects. Employers always respond kindly to those who demonstrate their commitment to both the business and their own continuous-improvement.
3 – A Valuable Contribution
Those who understand workplace health and safety are naturally in a better position to contribute to the overall health and safety culture of their own workplace. It is therefore a valid and valuable subject for all employees, including those who do not work directly in a health and safety capacity.
4 – Management Roles
Anyone working in a management role is required by law to have a strong understanding of workplace health and safety legislation. As such, those interesting in moving up to a management position in the future could benefit significantly by studying the subject in-depth.
5 – Business Safeguard
Any business that is found to be in any way flouting health and safety legislation could be prosecuted, fined or even closed down. Studying workplace health and safety can help ensure that critical errors and oversights are avoided, which may otherwise result in disaster.
Due to the extensive and complex nature of workplace health and safety legislation, studying the subject comprehensively is mandatory. While safe working practices and policies can be established through on-the-job experience, it is vital to understand the legal side of employer responsibilities.
For those willing to make the necessary commitment however, a recognised workplace health and safety qualification can make a powerful addition to a professional resume.