During 2010-11, there were 200,000 reportable workplace injuries in the UK (three days absence) (1).

Without fail, every large global organisation has considered its position when it comes to health and safety, and they will have all identified the need for effective health and safety processes. Can the same be said for all businesses?

Louise Perryman, sales and marketing director at Elmstone Systems, experts in producing health and safety (H&S) software, comments: “It isn’t uncommon to still see paper-based systems in place, and even if there is some kind of computer system, it usually involves endless printed documents.

“In today’s working environment, everyone should be working in a safe and compliant manner – and there should be systems in place to help move the process forward and support continuous improvement. Everyone gains – audits can be successfully completed, costs are progressively driven down and most importantly incident and injury levels are reduced.”

Perryman believes that smaller companies don’t need to invest at the same level as global blue chips, but they should still be working towards using an online system, one that encourages pro-activity. She adds:

“Systems and processes help businesses to stay on the front foot; detailed data analysis helps them to plan for the future and review trends, making adjustments before a serious incident occurs, not after the event.

“As an example, construction companies are continually looking to enhance their H&S procedures across multiple project sites. This, compounded with the constant change of site personnel as the project progresses, creates a real challenge in ensuring standards and behaviours are maintained and continually improved upon. Having an online, real time H&S system available to everyone can help facilitate communication, improve productivity and reduce non added value administration tasks.”

Perryman also considers it vital that staff at all levels buy into health and safety. She comments: “It’s a cultural issue. Employees need to get involved, whether they’re office-based or maybe an engineer working off site. Routine reporting of ‘near miss’ incidents can potentially save lives if they trigger the necessary corrective actions. Good H&S software must make it easier for companies to close the loop between identifying an action and getting it done – correctly.”

Many companies have lost their good reputation and been fined through avoidable accidents. In late 2011, the HSE issued a press release about a manufacturing firm that was fined after a worker’s hand was crushed in a metal press, requiring two skin grafting operations. Worst case scenario – a company could go out of business.

Here Elmstone Systems offers its top H&S tips:

• Support people to proactively engage and help to create the H&S System
• Make sure your H&S process is easily accessible and simple to use
• Encourage people to make H&S part of their lives – both at home and in the workplace. Be Incident and Injury Free.
• Promote the benefits and rewards of successful H&S behaviours
• Certify equipment is fully tested, up to date and compliant
• Ensure the appropriate and correct procedures are in place
• Provide visual metrics and reporting so people can the understand and identify opportunities to reduce incidents and injuries
• Conduct regular risk assessments and audits as a team to identify potential issues and to support hands on training and H&S awareness