WHY EMPLOYERS SHOULD PRIORITISE WORKPLACE SAFETY, HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT?
By Anderson Magawa
Where there is any form of work, there are hazards. This is true for any workplace whether it is a farm or hospital, a university campus or retail shop, or a construction or mining site – hazards are always present with the potential to cause harm to those performing the workplace tasks. This is also true whether it is a big company or for self-employment work with only one or two workers.
Employers and employees whether in big organisations or self-employment therefore need to ensure the safety of themselves, their clients, visitors, and anyone who comes to their workplace. Today’s article focuses on the implications more on the employer’s side. We will touch more on the employee’s side in the following articles;
1) Legal Liability: If an employee is injured on the job, the employer may be held legally liable for the incident. This can result in lawsuits, fines, and other expensive consequences. Zimbabwe has laws that regulate workplace safety and health. When an accident happens investigations are done to check the causes and in most cases, there will be a violation of one of these laws. This therefore means all employers must ensure that they are aware and comply with these laws depending on the industry they operate in.
2) Workers’ Compensation Claims: Injured employees may file workers’ compensation claims against their employers. These claims can result in the employer having to pay sums of money related to occupational injuries and diseases. This can be a significant financial burden for the employer. It becomes even worse when multiple employees are injured or die.
3) Decreased Productivity: Injuries can lead to production and process disruptions, therefore decreasing the company’s productivity. Injured employees may be unable to work for some time or may need to take time off to recover. This may require other employees to take on additional tasks or responsibilities or at times recruitment of replacement workers.
4) Damage to Company Reputation: If an employer has a reputation for having unsafe working conditions or a high rate of employee injuries, it may be difficult to attract and retain employees, as well as customers or clients.
5) Employee Morale: Employee injuries can negatively impact morale, as other employees may be concerned for their safety or feel that the employer is not prioritizing their well-being.
Overall, employers have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment for their employees, both ethically and legally. Taking steps to prevent employee injuries not only protects the well-being of employees but also benefits the employer in the long run by reducing liability and increasing productivity.
In our next articles, we will look at the implications on the employee as well as the steps that companies can take to effectively manage safety and health issues.
ARTICLE BY: AMOSA INSTITUTE OF OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY, HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT (AIOSHE)