Why is health and safety important?

Article by Achilles

Everyone knows the saying “good health and safety is good business”, and for many organisations, compliance with the health and safety at work act is fundamental. Generally speaking, companies want to protect their employees, if not just because, as the HSE UK states, operating in a safe environment improves worker productivity.

However, health and safety compliance should go beyond the checklist of meeting the requirements such as the management of health at safety at work regulations 1999 or COSHH and aligning to the Institute of Occupational Health (IOSH) standards. One way to go above and beyond these is to carry out a health and safety audit for your organisation. But why go that extra mile, and go beyond simple compliance? Often it is the costs involved that are perceived as a meaningful issue. So how can you raise the profile of health and safety in your workplace – and secure that additional budget? In this blog post we look at how to position compliance (specifically, health and safety) as critical to the ongoing security and growth of your business.

It is worth re-stating the fundamental advantages of good health and safety practice. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE UK) list these as the principle benefits:

  • Protect your workers from the suffering caused by accidents and ill health
  • Reduce absences and sick leave
  • Retain staff
  • Maintain your organisation’s reputation
  • Boost productivity and profits
  • Reduce your insurance premiums and legal costs

However, in order to persuade senior management that health and safety can help with winning contracts, we need to delve deeper into the outcomes of good (and bad) health and safety practices.

“In tough economic times, it’s important to remember that poor workplace safety and health costs money. What’s more, case studies show that good OSH management in a business is linked to improved performance and profitability.” (European Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OHSA))

Starting with the bad news: the cost of doing nothing

At Achilles we’ve noticed an increase in the number of buyer searches looking for suppliers with certified health and safety systems, or a health and safety audit. For those suppliers who don’t have a certified or audited system, they are already losing out before they even get a chance to submit an Expression of Interest – let alone be invited to a tender event.

So what’s the good news?

“Having a good health and safety performance record, particularly if it is attested to independently by third parties, is very positive and can make the difference between winning and losing a tender bid.” (UK’s Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA))

Ultimately, demonstrating excellent health and safety compliance can improve your organisation’s chances of winning contracts.

One of the key lessons learned from the global supply chain disruptions of 2020 (and ongoing) is that buyers are increasing the requirements from suppliers in terms of compliance. Buying organisations are seeking assurance that the suppliers they work with are not just compliant on paper but are also putting policies into practice on an everyday basis. They need to be sure that their business reputation will not be put at risk by a potential Health and Safety breach in their supply chain. In the current climate, suppliers can stand out from the crowd by demonstrating health and safety compliance through an audit.

From a buyer’s perspective, the advantages are clear. With full assurance in the compliance levels in their supply chain, they can be confident that not only can they flex and adapt rapidly to market conditions, but their brand reputation is also secure.

From a supplier’s perspective, the value of excellent health and safety performance stems from defining your organisation against your peers, standing out from the crowd and winning contracts because you can demonstrate the value you bring to buying organisations.

A consistent message from buyers working with Achilles is that they use our solutions to ensure that they can depend on their suppliers and improve performance and standards across the supply chain. Buying organisations working with Achilles know we can help improve their Health and Safety record, for example, an Achilles audited supplier is 40% less likely to have an accident, and have a 50% lower injury frequency rate over those who were not audited.

Many of the industries we work with are safety critical industries, but every single buying organisation considers Health and Safety their number one priority.

Whether buyer or supplier, this is a key message, and one we have highlighted this regularly, for example in our Supplier eBook, and our buyer-focussed Whitepaper.

In closing: a few tips on proving the value of health and safety compliance:

  • Align health and safety to the strategic priorities of your company. Add detailed metrics on health and safety to company reporting and make it relevant to the people working on it, and highlight the part they have to play.
  • Benchmark your organisation against industry peers. Use the evidence to prove that your company is the best option for buying organisations.
  • Speak to your key customers, understand what they are looking for from their suppliers, and implement the improvements they require. The initial cost will be mitigated by the stronger relationship – and you will be more likely to be placed on their ‘critical vendor’ list (and win more business).

Remember, health and safety compliance should go beyond the checklist of meeting the requirements such as the management of health at safety at work regulations 1999 or COSHH and aligning to the Institute of Occupational Health (IOSH) standards.

We’re here to help. With more than 30 years of experience in bringing buyers and suppliers together, our solutions are designed to help your business grow. Whether you want to improve your pre-qualification status, or you want to demonstrate your Health and Safety compliance via an on-site audit, or you want to venture into a new industry, contact the team today.



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