There are no real shortcuts to workplace health and safety — incompetence can costs lives and sink businesses large and small.

And staff absenteeism is expensive, with 137.3 million working days lost to staff illness or injury in the U.K. in 2016.

But health and safety cover such a wide spectrum that deciding which areas to prioritize can be overwhelming.

So whatever your business sector, here are five hacks for a glowing workplace health report.

Accident Prevention

Basic health and safety provisions apply to all workplaces but certain industries have inherent risks.

The potential impact of an accident might affect members of the public as well as your own staff. So it’s crucial to implement a risk assessment process and minimise the impact of any potential accident.

And when installations are unmanned, maintenance and monitoring are even more essential.

Substation ceiling fire protection may have been fitted at this site in Leicester, but a ‘simple’ short-circuit cut power to 45,000 homes and businesses nonetheless.

So ensure that the specialist equipment you install isn’t just top-spec but is checked thoroughly and regularly.

Sitting Pretty

Back pain sounds banal compared to life-threatening safety risks. But musco-skeletal problems are the second highest contributor to staff absenteeism in the UK — with 31 million days lost in 2016.

And while some conditions are pre-existing, others are exacerbated by the working environment.
So carry out regular desk and seat assessments for all staff and invest in chairs that are firm but comfortable. You might also consider vertical desks as a preventative measure for postural problems.

However some solutions are simple — encourage staff to take five minutes each hour to step away from their desks and stretch their legs. A short break clears the mind as well as benefitting the body.

Mental Health

Stress accounts for 45 percent of all working days lost to ill health according to the latest UK Health and Safety statistics.

But what might dent for profits and productivity even more is psycho-presenteeism — staff turning up to work in body but not in mind.

So consider implementing flexible working arrangements that facilitate a better life/work balance and encourage emotionally intelligent leadership so that staff feel valued and respected. But it’s inevitable that staff will occasionally face problems at home, so offer an outsourced counselling service to provide support.

It’s also a good idea to allow the staff to take the lead when it comes to workplace health by creating a ‘healthy working lives club’ where they share top tips on everything from childcare to diet and exercise.

Stress prevention makes business sense — review these innovations a year after implementation and witness the positive effect they’ve had on your bottom line.

Common Cold Crisis

Last but not least are minor illnesses.The humble common cold and its contagious cousins are top of the charts when it comes to workplace absenteeism —with 34 million days lost annually.

Since there’s still no cure for the cold, you might think there’s nothing you can do about it, but workplace bugs spread swiftly in open plan offices. So instead of praising staff for toughing out their colds under mountains of tissues, cut your losses and send them home. They’ll recover faster surrounded by home comforts and there’s less chance their bugs will blight an entire team.

Health and safety is the heartbeat of any business —these five hacks should help you set superb standards.

Have health and safety innovations boosted your business? Share your stories in the comment below.