Health and safety management is a crucial part of any business management cycle – and standards are changing. A review by Harvard School of Public Health highlights the huge shift in health and safety standards across the country, with both state and federal bodies changing how they view this crucial part of running a business. Getting to grips with these very modern regulations is important to running a business smoothly and protecting workers.
Understanding the law and how it interacts with your business is the first step.
Legal protections and rules
There are two main ways that businesses can be challenged on their health and safety record. The first is through OSHA and the DoL, who provide regularly updated rules on what they have deemed to be the regulatory standard for employers. The second is through private litigation, which will often step in when OSHA have been unable to make a finding during the course of their investigations or are unable to provide an inspection. As legal experts FVF Law outline, private litigation is there to provide employees with justice when they have been subject to a work-related injury that was not their fault, or was due to inappropriate measures put in place by the employer. You should look to build relations with your own attorneys in order to ensure a fair outcome is generated for both parties.
Coronavirus has changed the way that health and safety is assessed – permanently. This isn’t just about the levels of hygiene and ventilation now demanded of workplaces, but also the adjustments put in place for remote workers. Your business will likely be focused in the digital space and will offer remote working to your employees, and so it’s of great importance that you broach the subject of health and safety with them. Providing reasonable adjustments, such as desks and chairs, will give you assurance that you’ve met the demands made of you as the employer and that your employees will be safe and comfortable at home.
In times of working in the office, social isolation and loneliness really weren’t a factor. Now, with the risk of employees becoming specifically detached from their teams, the National Institute on Aging data suggests that loneliness could be the next health and safety epidemic. Mental health is a real issue for health and safety planning – as an employer, you have some degree of responsibility to ensure that your staff have the support they need for their mental health and that they don’t feel isolated in their role. Part of this will come from your day-to-day efforts in communicating with staff and checking in, but you can go that little bit further by looking for employee benefits within mental health.
Health and safety isn’t just about trips and falls. In the modern, remote working age, it’s about looking after people who you might not see, in-person, for extended periods. Protecting them in their own homes, and putting support frameworks in, will enrich the entire company.