Investing in safety

by Business Case Studies on Monday 11th October, 2010

According to Maslow's theory on motivation, we strive for 'safety' after our basic needs have been met. This can be in the form of our personal physical safety or in terms of financial and job security. FirstGroup, the world's leading transport company, places customer and employee safety at the centre of all it does. According to First: 'If you cannot do it safely, don't do it'. It has a zero tolerance approach to unsafe working practices. First transports 2.5 billion passengers a year and has 135,000 staff so it has a huge responsibility for the safety of all these people. In order to meet the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, First influences its workers through training courses, safety policies and guidance on how to operate. It has employed a number of safety practices such as banning mobiles phone calls, even hands-free calls, when drivers are in charge of a vehicle and installing CCTV and safety notices for passengers in their buses and trains.

Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) also gives safety a high priority. Currently 20 different construction companies are working on Terminal 2 of Dublin Airport which is due to open in November. The DAA have taken the unusual step of running a number of raffles with the construction workers to encourage the builders to stay safe in the workplace. So far three hatchback cars have been given away during the raffles, which take place only if workers remain accident-free for 500,000 hours. The Health and Safety Authority in Ireland estimates that workplace accidents cost the economy more than 3 billion EURO each year. The importance that the DDA gives to health and safety, including the recent promotion, means that the accident rate on Terminal 2 is less than half of the national average according to a DDA spokesperson. (The Sunday Times 4th April 2010)

Questions

  1. What is the main piece of health and safety legislation in the UK?
  2. Outline the costs involved in developing a culture of safety.
  3. Analyse the benefits to organisations, like FirstGroup, of making safety a priority.

Answers to questions

  1. What is the main piece of health and safety legislation in the UK? – Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This outlines the duties which employers have towards employees and members of the public. It also identifies the responsibilities that employees have to themselves and each other.
  2. Outline the costs involved in developing a culture of safety. – The costs of implementing a safe working environment include:
  • Training workers to operate in a safe manner
  • Implementing safety policies and procedures (This may necessitate the appointment of a safety officer)
  • Checking and monitoring safety policies are being adhered to
  • The provision of appropriate tools, equipment and protective clothing

    3.   Analyse the benefits to organisations, like FirstGroup, of making safety a priority.

  • Improved reputation
  • Ability to attract more customers
  • Ability to attract high quality employees
  • Less chance of adverse publicity
  • Less chance of legal action being taken against the organisation

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