Is wellbeing part of health and safety?

Is wellbeing part of health and safety?

Everyone is familiar with the term ‘Health and Safety’, it applies to pretty much every job or building we step foot in. There are often extensive legal requirements around Health and Safety and what businesses must ensure they do to meet expected standards. While a lot of it is familiar, there are most likely aspects that may surprise us or may be more applicable than we first thought. With wellbeing being such a vast topic that covers a number of different bases it may not be fully realised what an important role it plays within health and safety. Discover some of our considerations below.

Health and safety

The term health and safety is broad and when we hear it, we may conjure images around safe ways to pick up boxes or keeping hot drinks away from laptops. In essence, it’s a code of practice to protect members of staff while they are at work. Not fulfilling certain elements of Health and Safety can lead to legal implications which can be costly towards the business.

If a new employee starts a role, often they will need to complete Health and Safety training to show they have understood the policies and practices that are in place. This exercise is often there to protect them and the company for any behaviour or incident that occur in the future.

Wellbeing and health and safety

As obvious as they may be, all staff will be familiar with them on some level and may even consider them a ‘tick box’ exercise. These practices have been around for many years but since the age of technology, more factors have come into play such as adequate breaks from our computers to prevent eye strain or regular posture checks to ensure we don’t suffer back problems. The way we now work causes many of these practices to evolve and update as the climate changes.

These are all fine, but many of them relate to the physical side of health of safety. The area which may not get as much focus, is the mental side. Health encompasses all areas of how we function as individuals and mental health tying into our overall wellbeing is an essential factor towards productivity and overall performance.  The Health and Safety Executive states ‘A fitter, healthier, happier workforce can impact positively on productivity and prosperity’. Your business may know what to do in the event of exposed wires or spilt coffee, but how do you respond to someone who is carrying a lot of personal concern that is affecting their job?

Managing wellbeing goes far beyond ticking a box, it’s ensuring an effective strategy is put in place towards identifying problems and adapting accordingly. Your business may be considered a safe place to work but in what sense does this mean? Establish all aspects of your working environment and see how they all contribute towards your business, from mental health, to cleanliness, to workload, to morale, it all counts towards your overall Health and Safety.

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