Workplace safety not just about buying equipment

Ensuring that an organization has a positive health and safety record and that it has as few accidents and incidents as possible on its grounds, involves more than just purchasing health and safety gear.

This is according to Senior Consultant, REA Envirohealth International, Harold Oxley, who made this clear as he spoke to the Barbados Advocate recently on the sidelines of a seminar marking the International Labour Organization’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

Oxley further stated that costs of safety equipment is not a true indicator of the success of safety programmes for management. “The idea of costs associated with health and safety always comes up and many people’s idea of health and safety is the buying of safety equipment … and if health and safety gets involved in buying things, then you are obviously going to have an expense, you are not really seeing the deterrent and many health and safety officers and HR personnel who are pushing health and safety are then challenged by management to show the payback and they have a hard time showing it because they do not have proper indicators,” he said.

Therefore, these organizations must spend money on training their employees on proper health and safety practices, for instance, which would then translate into a safer work environment which you would then be able to prove to management.

“What we are looking at are some of the ways of calculating the true position so that you can see the benefits of what is going on (and) the investments that are being made … If the only thing that you are looking at is the number of accidents – you had three last year and two this year – it looks as if you are making progress, but if you had other ways of measuring that progress, some other more positive indicators like training and so on as well as a way of translating the accidents, incidents and the property damage also into money, then you can show that even though you may have had one accident,, you may had saved a whole lot in terms of property damage and therefore there is still some payback in terms of investment in health and safety.” (PJT)

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