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  • International Workplace
  • 20 January 2014
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Ensuring workplace safety and security in 2014

Work-related injuries and illness can be risky business for an employer. In fact, occupational injury and illness-associated costs are around £13.8bn, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Even more distressing, these costs come directly from a company's profit. The good news though is that safety and health management systems can help reduce a workplace's injury and illness expenditures between 20 and 40%.

Promote a safe and healthy work environment that isn't drowning in workers' compensation payments or costly absenteeism. Regularly review HSE training materials and routinely ensure employees understand safety procedures by visibly posting guidelines and clearly communicating workplace requirements. Also reduce work-related accidents, illnesses and personal concerns with the following health and safety measures.

Health advocacy

Cultivate a healthy environment that encourages your employees to live active and healthily lifestyles. Happy employees in good health are absent less and therefore more productive, which profitably affects your bottom line. Employees who are at less risk of developing diseases can also reduce employer health care costs, including medical and disability costs, as well as expenses for replacing and retraining injured or ill employees who are frequently absent.

Adopt a health promotion programme to promote healthy lifestyles and a high quality of life within your workplace. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorses this strategy, adding that a comprehensive health programme will also address how healthy behaviours can help eliminate environmental risks of injury and disease. You can learn more about employee health promotion programmes at CDC.gov.

Digital crime reduction

As an employer, it's in your best interest to help protect your employees from cyber-attacks and identity theft. Identity thieves steal personal information to open bank and credit card accounts among other things. According to CIFAS, since 1999, identity fraud has risen by 163% and is one of the fastest-growing types of fraud in the UK. The economy takes a hit of £1.2bn each year due to identity theft.

Invest in the well-being of your employees with workplace identity theft protection services and solutions. Establish protocols for protecting passwords and confidential employee information from cyber predators. Providing identity theft awareness tips for your employees also reflects a company commitment to overall employee safety. Learn more about identity theft protection and recovery services by visiting LifeLock.com.

Last week, a report which provides advice and tips for small businesses to improve their online security was published. Effective cyber security is good for business and this report shows that small and medium sized enterprise (SME) owners need to prioritise cyber security so that they can reap significant long term benefits.

Openly communicative work environment

Employers are required by law to provide a safe work environment for employees. Individuals shouldn't fear handling hazardous materials or feeling intimidated socially, and if they do, they need to feel comfortable expressing concern to a human resources representative or manager.

Don't turn a blind eye to inappropriate behaviour. Create an open work culture where people feel safe voicing their concerns about topics such as sexual harassment, bullying and safety violations. Establishing regularly scheduled check-ins can also help foster a physically and emotionally safe workplace. Visit OpenForum.com to learn more about creating a healthy work environment.