The terms are easy to understand. We all know how important our health is. We all want to be able to enjoy our lives to the fullest and being healthy is the first part of that, while keeping ourselves safe is also critical.
“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” – Ghandi
But when we talk about health and safety in manufacturing, we are referring to a specific area of concern to the business.
What is Health and Safety?
The well-being of employees is a top concern for any company. Businesses cannot operate ethically while endangering the lives of their workers. The government has strict laws outlining the responsibilities of employers in ensuring the safety of all their employees.
Even from a strictly financial point of view, employees that are working in sub- standard conditions will also not be very productive. Workplace injuries cause downtime in processes and high absenteeism. Low morale is toxic to productivity.
All of this pales in comparison to the potential loss of life or quality of life to anyone involved in a workplace accident or suffering from a workplace related injury or illness. The moral responsibility of managers of a company or process is clear:
Ensure a safe and healthy work environment for everyone working in the business.
To accomplish this, most companies set up a dedicated person to be responsible for Health and Safety. In many countries this is mandated by the government. Health and Safety departments have metrics that need to be measured and reported on, with action plans to improve and reduce employee health related issues.
Some responsibilities that may fall into the realm of Health and Safety include ergonomics, hazardous waste handling, MSDS documentation, accident reporting, emergency planning, risk assessments, personal protective equipment, first aid and much more.
So what is Health and Safety?
It’s the obligation of the employer to it’s employees to ensure a healthy and happy work environment and it’s critical to ensuring the successful operation of any business.