How accidents can impact the reputation of your business

29/05/2019

FSDF member Citation can help with your business reputation with a proactive and robust approach to Health & Safety being one of the best ways to build the reputation of your company.

It’s not just your clients that take notice though, your Health & Safety record builds your reputation with employees, their colleagues and associates over the course of many years.
An accident in your workplace can damage that hard-won reputation in a matter of minutes.

Protecting your business against potential backlash is vital. A proactive approach is best and identifying ways to manage potential risks to your reputation is the ideal way to do it.

Initial response

If a serious accident occurs, the first and most important thing to do is make sure you help anyone affected and keep them out of further harm’s way. First aid and isolating the area will also help in the immediate aftermath. The more serious the incident, the more likely emergency services will have to get involved.

In terms of your reputation at this early stage, social media is not on your side. If employees start to post to their social media accounts, that’s the first way that information about an incident can leak to the wider public. It’s a good idea to get ahead of that and ask employees to refrain posting or taking pictures surrounding an incident.

Reporting and risk assessment

It’s important to uncover the direct cause of an accident and put those things right immediately to avoid a repeat. However. there’s much more you can do to uncover the root causes of accidents and incidents in the workplace.

Faulty equipment or lack of due care and attention could be the immediate cause of an accident. But what might a root cause be? Inadequate training or supervision? The wrong Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) consistently being used? Or none at all?

Whatever that root cause may be, it’s very important to figure it out as soon as possible and put forward an action plan aimed at preventing further accidents ahead of time. Don’t forget, if an incident gets as far as court, enforcers do not take well to businesses who ignore prior warnings about a large-scale problem.

Keep your paperwork handy

When an incident occurs, you need to be able to refer quickly to your Health & Safety handbook, your training records and any and all related risk assessments. That’s because in the event of an inspection and/or a visit by an insurance company, you need to be able to provide these by law. Failure to do so would be extremely dangerous for your reputation.

Creating a culture of Health & Safety awareness

They say prevention is better than cure and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to Health & Safety management and its impact on your business’ reputation. Creating a culture that puts Health & Safety at its very core is the most reliable way to do this.

It’s an on-going process and requires buy-in from every level, from director on down. But it’s effort that produces positive results within your company and echoes far and wide when it comes to your reputation.

Here are some tips on embedding safety culture into your business:

  1. Define – having a set of robust Health & Safety policies and a handbook outlining plans and individual responsibilities is the number one, fool proof first step to getting your safety culture in place.
  2. Share – don’t keep your policies and procedures to yourself. Everyone should be included when you’re creating plans, and they should be widely communicated once established.
  3. Be accountable – any organisation with a positive approach to Health & Safety has a proactive culture of accountability. Whether it’s about PPE on a construction site, to keeping an eye out for fire and electrical safety, encourage everyone to play their part.
  4. Report – make sure everyone in the business is aware how important it is to report any incident or even near-misses. Inspectors will look at how close an eye you keep on overall safety, especially if a large-scale incident does occur.
  5. Investigate – have a seamless investigation process. Conducting effective enquiries is the best way to uncover root causes of incidents and lets you prevent accidents in the future.
  6. Communicate – keep everyone in the loop! If a process changes, or new risks emerge, make sure this is communicated company wide. And don’t just keep it to emails. Use team meetings, bulletin boards and messages to embed the message!

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