‘Health and Safety has gone mad’, the majority of people who read sensationalist articles or watch certain news networks will happily decry. Yet, whilst there are indeed a few isolated cases of health and safety practitioners taking things a step too far, talking about health and safety in such a derogatory manner seems to miss a major point – the whole process of initiating health and safety procedures and offering health and safety training is there to help save lives.
Many people act as though health and safety is something the government has made up to make our lives more difficult, forgetting that health and safety procedures are actually there to protect us. Furthermore, the rise in rules and regulations is actually the general public’s fault in many ways, not those of companies or governments, as the world seems to have become increasingly litigious, meaning that companies are being forced to protect themselves more and more.
Therefore, the right health and safety is about ticking two boxes. The first involves keeping employees and the general public safe, and the second is all about ensuring that they are protected from unfair litigation by covering their backs.
Of course, there will be times when certain people take things too far – such as those who suggest that school ties are too dangerous for children – but in the majority of cases it is about protecting ordinary everyday people whilst making sure that those less bright sparks amongst us are also looked out for.
We are all different, and we all need different levels of warning to ensure that we do not make simple oversights and, as such, occupational health and safety is important within any company, being in the interest of employees, customers and indeed the company themselves, and ensuring that people can get on with what they are doing with the minimal possible risk.