Health and Safety: How engaged employees create safer workplaces

Saturday 28th April is World Safety and Health at Work Day. Founded by the International Labour Organisation, the event aims to raise awareness of the importance of health and safety in the workplace and to prevent occupational accidents and diseases.

In a 2017 report, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) documented 1.3 million work-related ill-health cases (new or long-standing) in the UK – alongside 70,116 injuries (reported by employers), and 137 fatal injuries to workers. Over half a million new cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety (new or long-standing) were found in 2016/17, accounting for 40% of all work-related ill health cases. We explored workplace stress in a recent blog, with suggestions on how you can take care of your colleagues (and yourself).

The HSE reported that overall, 31.2 million working days lost due to ill-health and workplace injuries in the UK in 2016/17 alone. The annual cost of new cases of work-related ill health totalled 9.7 billion in 2015/16.

Health and safety and employee engagement

Following their 2016 meta-analysis study, Gallup took a closer look at the links between employee engagement and health & safety. They found that workplaces with engagement scores in the top quartile of their data had 70% fewer safety incidents, compared to workplaces in the lower quartile. These organisations had created cultures in which employees were dedicated to going the extra mile to get things right, approached their work with care and attention to detail, and felt able to speak up to prevent safety incidents occurring.

Alongside complying with the relevant legislation and keeping up with any changes in the law, taking measures to improve employee engagement could have a significant impact on health & safety in workplaces everywhere. Find out how your current employee engagement activities measure against the five enablers with our free diagnostic tool today – and if you’d like to find out more about UK health & safety obligations (including producing a policy), take a look at the CIPD factsheet here.

Further reading

HSE: Health and Safety at work (summary of statistics for Great Britain, 2017)

CIPD: Health and Safety at work

Gallup: Engaged Workplaces are Safer for Employees

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