If you asked a room full of British newspaper journalists, “what is the opposite of fun and adventure?” I bet most of them would say “health and safety”.
This can be quite depressing for the health and safety professional, whose main objective is to prevent workplace injuries and allow employees to continue to enjoy fun and adventure for many years to come.
I think it’s ironic that one of our leading driver trainers spends his weekends driving a racing car and that a Cardinus ergonomics consultant is a keen climber. We have seen cases where poor health and safety at work has led to people denied these pleasures for the rest of their lives. At Cardinus we believe health and safety supports fun and adventure.
The unfortunate consequence of the stories written by that room full of journalists is that they undermine some of the impressive benefits a well-managed health and safety programme can bring. Companies with a positive attitude to health and safety tend to have a highly motivated workforce and they are more likely to be healthier. Health, motivation and positivity contribute enormously to fun and adventure.
A comfortable employee will be much more productive that one who is in pain or fatigued. They will make fewer mistakes and take less sickness absence. Ergonomics can not only avoid costly injuries and court cases, but also can increase productivity and add real shareholder value. The same arguments can be made for good occupational road risk, manual handling, environmental programmes, too. In today’s financial climate safe, healthy, comfortable employees could be the difference between a positive balance sheet and a negative one.
By Jon Abbott, Cardinus Risk Management