All industries are governed by the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act and need to maintain certain standards for Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ). Having the right systems in place to understand risks and how to protect people against them is essential, and training forms a core component of ensuring a safe working environment.
However, in the current climate, maintaining this function in-house can be both more costly and less effective than outsourcing to an expert provider. Getting this function right is critical, as for many businesses, lives can literally be on the line.
An expert risk management solutions provider can help to reduce cost while also minimising the impact of risk, benefiting both businesses and their employees.
A challenging climate with increased risk
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, managing risk has become a more onerous task than ever, since in addition to existing requirements, new protocols need to be followed, and they change frequently.
Furthermore, inherently risky sectors, such as mining and construction, have a plethora of regulations that must be complied with, and these may be altered periodically as well. The laws provide a framework guiding what must be done, however, the practice of executing effectively is often more challenging than it appears.
From the point of view of the constitution, businesses have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment. If an incident occurs resulting in an injury or death, there are repercussions that need to be managed. This can become a complex task, especially now with the world in a state of flux.
Having the right systems and training in place is key, because once an incident occurs, it is too late. Outsourced risk management solutions help businesses to put policies and procedures in place to ensure employees are safe, protected and trained to understand their responsibilities in this regard.
Better to be safe than sorry
An incident that results in injury or a fatality has many consequences for a business, not least of which is a cost implication, including the cost of the incident, cost of associated shutdowns, potential legal action and fines.
There is also the risk of reputational damage, which is arguably more costly and can have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences.
“From our experience, the average serious injury or death related to a workplace incident has shown to have a substantial impact directly and indirectly on the organisations expenses. In addition, in industries like mining and construction, there is the possibility of shutdowns following an event, which impact production. No business can afford this kind of cost, and that’s without considering the impact on the people involved and their families who will be affected. Making sure you have the right systems and training in place can help businesses avoid the majority of safety incidents.”
– Natalie Pitout, Innovations Manager at KBC Risk Solutions
The collapse of a major bridge in Johannesburg during its construction phase three years ago highlights how detrimental an incident can be.
To this day, the organisation involved is still embroiled in legal proceedings and the Department of Labour is conducting an ongoing investigation. A single incident can cause problems for years to come, and if a business is found to be negligent, the likelihood of it surviving is small.
Outsourced risk management solutions are a win-win
There are more than 245 pieces of legislation that impact on health and safety. Knowing which ones apply, how they apply, what the risks are and what systems need to be put into place can be an incredibly complicated task.
For most businesses, production is the priority, and this complex environment is difficult to navigate without specialist skills and an understanding of the framework.
Outsourced risk management solutions from an accredited, certified expert partner can assist businesses to manage and anticipate risks and minimise their impact.
Training forms a crucial component of this, ensuring that people can identify risks and know how to navigate them, so that they have the competency to be able to work safely. This ensures businesses adhere to SHEQ requirements while focusing on their core business.
Outsourcing also provides quality management systems that can help businesses manage their processes more effectively, which in turn has knock-on productivity benefits.
While providing a safe workplace is a legal obligation, businesses also have a duty to care for their employees from a sustainability perspective. This is becoming increasingly important both to prospective employees and to investors.
However, many businesses do not have the resources to employ a full-time SHEQ professional.
An expert outsourced provider will have a full team of qualified and certified personnel, as well as the supporting technology platforms to help any business create and maintain safe workplaces.