In all teachings about health and safety they reckon there are three requirements – moral, legal and financial.
Moral and legal are self explanatory, but everyone gets excited about finance. Most companies are drawn by profit and see health and safety as a cost with no payback.
If your company could achieve the moral and legal requirements AND make a profit, wouldn’t that make a difference to management’s perception of health and safety as a necessary evil?
Businesses are about risk – you can’t run a business without taking risks, or it would never get started and certainly wouldn’t expand. Businesses take financial risks, but shy away from health and safety and the risks involved in that. In finance terms management often look at saving the costs of accidents. You can’t work out how much accidents will cost before they happen.
However, risk is an opportunity and management should be looking at taking positive action and getting staff on board in exploring the opportunities that are associated with risk.
In fact – in a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, risks should be firmly in the opportunities quadrant. For each risk that is identified as relevant to the company, it can be taken and turned into an opportunity, for instance streamlining processes, using existing skills to generate more profit
For example if working at height is a risk as a window cleaner, the opportunity that arises is to improve your services by cleaning windows from a cherry picker faster, safer and increasing your income by doing more in less time.
Take a look at the risks in your business – where are those opportunities?