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When The Health and Safety Policy is at Odds with the Business Decision

Health and Safety Starts at the Top with Managers

Having a comprehensive health and safety culture within a business begins with the company's management as they are the ones who provide the direction of the business and set the standard to which employees follow. If they are not seen to take health and safety in the workplace seriously, or even deliberately tell employees to ignore certain things if time and money is scarce, then workers will face a much higher likelihood of suffering an injury or death which may or may not be of the own creation.

Often managers will be tempted to by-pass the health and safety policy and controls if there is a particular need to get work finished by a certain deadline or money is a bit tight. The business decision can therefore sometimes be at odds with the health and safety policy and rules which should be followed at all times. For example, materials which are purchased for use in the manufacturing process of a finished item may be required by law to be fire resistant. However, they are much more expensive than cheaper, more flammable material. If trading conditions are difficult, and as a result there is a lack of available money to spend, the business decision will be at odds not only with the health and safety policy and guidelines that would be followed by the management in an ideal world, but not following it also goes against legal requirements.

It is imperative that whenever a scenario like this comes about then management always stick to the health and safety policy, no matter how tempting it is to cut corners, even if it is "just the once because of exceptional circumstances". Circumventing the health and safety policy or not fulfilling set legal requirements will significantly increase the potential for a person to suffer illness, injury or death as a consequence of the workplace activities.

Health and Safety Can Be Positive Too

Following a health and safety policy is certainly not all about placing restrictions upon a business as to what can and cannot be done. The policy is also used as a guide for positive actions which aim to increase productivity, preserve the environment, enhance company image and result in cost efficiency amongst many other benefits.

Health and safety policies and even legislation are not intended to suppress profit and make trading tough for businesses. Although some requirements may be onerous, cause work to take slightly longer and end up costing more money, there are many benefits that a safe workplace brings which nearly always far outweigh any negatives and costs associated with it.

Selected Courses

Please see below for a selection of health and safety courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is the flagship NEBOSH qualification, and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals.

The NEBOSH National Diploma provides the core health and safety knowledge (transferable across industry, commerce and the public sector) which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an occupational health and safety practitioner.

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NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular and widely-held health and safety qualifications in the UK. It is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who require an understanding of general health and safety issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK, along with the identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge. The general content of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus means it is suitable and relevant for those working in virtually any industry, and is often used as a solid foundation for those going on to further study and specialising in a particular area such as construction site health and safety or fire safety.

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IOSH Managing Safely Course

The IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for managers and supervisors of organisations in virtually all industry sectors, in order to give them all they need to know to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace.

Recently updated, the new high impact programme covers key health and safety issues, and includes references to international case studies.

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CITB Site Management SMSTS Course

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is one of the most popular health and safety training courses, and is intended for construction site managers, project managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies.

Client-based personnel would also benefit from attending the SMSTS course.

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CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course

This course is for those who have entered, or are about to enter, the construction and civil engineering industry as a member of the workforce to help them understand the potential hazards that they face at work on site. It aims to provide a practical summary of health and safety, welfare and environmental health and safety issues.

The course also allows delegates to identify their individual responsibilities for looking after themselves and others, what the employer's duties are and what should be done if they think anyone's health and safety is being put at risk.

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