The Many Benefits of a Professional Health Risk Assessment
The nation’s businesses lose vast sums annually due to work-related injuries and illness. However, a health risk assessment can help minimise such losses. Most of us accept that prevention is better than cure. But, in business, it is not only better; it can also be substantially cheaper.
The findings of two authoritative surveys reveal that the annual toll of absenteeism on the national economy is at least R12 billion but could be as high as R19 billion. In the current financial climate, such figures are a recipe for disaster. Although some of those absences will be due to everyday maladies like cold and flu or simply an excuse to take some time off, far too many are work-related and could be prevented. For example, injuries sustained due to slipping, tripping or falling cost UK employers around £1 billion yearly. Local figures are likely to be proportionate.
Providing effective prevention will require identifying any factors that might pose a threat to employee health and safety. The process requires experience and technical expertise and should, therefore, begin by arranging for an occupational hygienist to conduct a thorough inspection of the workplace.
A Health Risk Assessment is Not Just About Cost-Saving
You might be required to pay 75% or more of their basic wage for up to a year to employees who contract an illness or suffer an injury due to inadequate workplace health and safety measures. However, this is unlikely to be your only loss. Firstly, there are the costs involved in recruiting and employing replacement staff, but there are also secondary costs which are often less apparent.
Accidents are bad for staff morale. Workers can become resentful if they feel their health and safety are neglected, often resulting in reduced productivity and disruptive resignations. A modest investment in a health risk assessment will ensure your company complies with the legal requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and establish its reputation as an organisation that prioritises the safety and well-being of its employees.
The Typical Components of a Health Risk Assessment
These surveys may take several forms. Often, the nature of a business, such as a chemical plant or car manufacturer, will provide a clue to those areas on which an inspector should focus. Generally, the main concerns fall into three categories.
- Physical: These could be persistent high ambient noise levels, extreme temperatures or ionising radiation.
- Chemical: A high atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide in a brewery or the need to handle strong acids, alkalis or highly flammable organic solvents are obvious chemical threats.
- Biological: Common examples include Legionella in the water supply and E. coli on work surfaces in restaurant kitchens or food processing plants.
While slippery floors and missing safety rails are visible hazards, others can only be established using appropriate technology. IOH Solutions fields a team of experienced technical staff backed by state-of-the-art detection and monitoring equipment and lab-based analytical services.
Arranging a Health Risk Assessment
Perhaps your business is in Gauteng or the Eastern or Western Cape, and you have concerns about your staff’s safety and want to maintain peak productivity and reduce the cost of work-related illnesses and injuries. If so, we strongly suggest you complete our online enquiry form and let IOH Solutions assess and address your needs.