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The Importance of Health and Safety Training at the Workplace

The implementation of health and safety regulations is one of the inevitable measures that promote employee well-being. Many hazards are present in work environments, and the employer must protect employees against harm. The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a set of occupational safety standards that must be followed in workplaces. Employees who violate the regulations are penalized. Health and safety training is important to ensure that employees are conversant with the regulations and follow them strictly to avoid injuries. It is important because it prevents illness and injury, reduces health and safety hazards, avoids serious financial consequences, increases productivity, and minimizes legal liabilities.

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Benefits of Training

Prevention of Illness and Injury

One of the main benefits of health and safety training is the prevention of injury and illness at the workplace. Training programs help employees to gain awareness regarding the health hazard within their workspace, their health implications, and how they can avoid harm (Burke & Richardsen, 2019). Paying for injuries caused within the work environment can affect the bottom line of organizations. Therefore, companies should prioritize eliminating health hazards by educating employees. Training is an effective method of fostering workplace health and safety; it teaches employees about suitable workplace procedures and practices as well as the recommended behaviors that are effective in the avoidance of injuries and illnesses (Burke & Richardsen, 2019). Moreover, it imparts knowledge on proper hygiene practices that minimize contamination or prevent the spread of diseases. Firms need to train their employees on health and safety procedures in order to avoid the health and financial implications associated with injury or illness.

Reduction of Hazards

Every workplace has potential hazards that put the health and safety of employees at risk. The presence of dangers that threaten workers’ well-being necessitates the provision of training to workers, which should be updated regularly (Burke & Richardsen, 2019). Furniture, certain activities, and chemicals can harm employees if caution is not taken. Health hazards in the workplace include a wide range of causes like improper handling of food and the outbreak of an infectious disease. Improper hygiene is one of the major health hazards in work environments. Employees in manufacturing industries are exposed to dangerous chemicals and gases that could cause harm. Moreover, the risk of improper handling or storage of materials can expose workers to serious health conditions. In that regard, companies should train their employees on the proper ways of handling and storing chemicals in order to avoid injuries. Accidents within places of work are costly because they have serious implications like loss of wages, equipment damage, and medical treatment costs (Burke & Richardsen, 2019). In addition, costs of legal penalties, the erosion of company reputation, and employee turnover can be caused by poor health and safety measures. Healthy and safety training enables organizations to reduce health hazards that could have the aforementioned consequences.

Avoidance of Financial Consequences

One of the federal requirements of a workplace is the implementation of health and safety regulations to protect the well-being of employees. OSHA has a mandate to enforce health and safety laws. Therefore, organizations should adhere to their guidelines when developing health and safety procedures. An organization’s failure to implement the guidelines provided by OSHA could lead to serious consequences like a penalty or temporary shutdown of a business. Another negative effect is the erosion of an organization’s image that could lead to massive loss of customers, money, and business. Other common consequences of a lack of safety measures include decreased productivity, loss of vendors and employees, and the potential closure of an entire organization (Burke & Richardsen, 2019). Insurance covers might cover illnesses and injuries at the workplace. However, they exclude additional costs such as litigation, investigations, claims management, and the hiring and training of new workers. These costs can be avoided by training employees on how to protect themselves and others at the workplace.

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, employers pay approximately $1 million very week in compensation costs arising from workplace injuries (Burke & Richardsen, 2019). Employers have a legal obligation to create compensation insurance policies in their organizations. However, injuries in the workplace inflate the basic cost. Moreover, costs incurred increase if an employee is underinsured.

Minimization of Legal Liabilities

Healthy and safety training is essential in an organization’s minimization of legal liabilities due to injuries sustained at work. The Department of Labor administers the Occupational Safety and Health Act (Burke & Richardsen, 2019). According to the act, every worker has a right to be and feel safe at their workplace. The legislation lists the required standards for different industries and work environments. Penalties are imposed whenever employees violate the safety laws. Therefore, every organization should ensure that all workers are aware of the act and abide by its rules in order to avoid the legal and financial ramifications associated with their violation. Providing worker’s compensation insurance is not sufficient. All organizations should provide a safe and healthy work environment to avoid being sued for damages by an employee. Lawsuits that result from such negligence could bankrupt a small company.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 applies widely with regard to employees, employers, and workplaces. According to the legislation, employers have a responsibility to protect their employees and the public affected by their operations (Burke & Richardsen, 2019). The workers must be informed about any matter, activity, or process that affects their wellbeing. Moreover, they should be notified about their health and safety responsibilities. Accidents that are classified as criminal negligence could have serious consequences for employers. Training should be an opportunity for employers to teach employees about their responsibilities that include taking care of their health and safety, using protective clothing and equipment, and refraining from interfering with equipment meant for the health and safety of the workforce (Burke & Richardsen, 2019). The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 requires employers to instruct their employees and offer information to enhance their health and safety.

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Increased Productivity

One of the main effects of a poor working environment is low employee morale. An employee who is concerned about avoiding injury exhibits low productivity because full attention is not directed toward the execution of tasks. Unsafe workplaces lower output because workers are more concerned with their personal safety than the proper execution of their tasks (Burke & Richardsen, 2019). The fear of getting hurt prevents them from performing their duties optimally. Organizations that conduct employee training on health and safety have highly motivated workers because they feel appreciated and part of a team. Moreover, they dedicate all their focus on the completion of tasks. This results in increased morale and loyalty, two factors that are correlated to productivity. A strong and effective health and safety policy enhances the creation of good relationships between employers and employees, which can boot employee morale and efficiency (Burke & Richardsen, 2019). Companies suffer time and money losses due to injuries because they are legally obliged to continue paying employees who miss work due to a workplace injury or illness. Employee absence lowers the overall output of the organization. In industries such as construction and manufacturing, injuries could necessitate the temporary shutdown of an operation in order to pave way for investigations (Burke & Richardsen, 2019). These inconveniences and losses can be avoided by training employees on how to keep themselves safe and health in the workplace.

Conclusion

Health and safety training at the workplace is a fundamental aspect of organizational success. A healthy and safe working environment promotes staff morale, increases efficiency and productivity, mitigates staff turnover, and prevents the cost implications of workplace injuries and illnesses. Moreover, training lowers injuries and illnesses, enhances the creation of a positive culture, and supports the fulfillment of the legal mandate to protect employees. Abiding by safety regulations and training employees on how to protect their health is necessary in all workplaces as it prevents injuries and accidents that have serious implications. Moreover, employers are liable for injuries caused in their organizations if training on health and safety was not conducted. Hefty compensation packages and fines could affect the profitability and image of an organization if health and safety standards are violated. Both employees and employers benefit from taking part in training programs that are aimed at creating health and safe work environments.

References

Burke, R. J., & Richardsen, A. M. (Eds.). (2019). Increasing occupational health and safety in workplaces: Individual, work, and organizational factors. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.

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