Getting down to business: Health and Safety

We recently released the latest Deloitte Health and Safety survey results, together with the Business Leaders' Health and Safety Forum. Deloitte Private director and risk management expert, Monika Wakeman, explains the survey results and explores what health and safety legislation changes have meant for SME organisations over the last three years.

Why does Health and Safety matter to an owner of an SME?  

Health and Safety is important for all businesses regardless of size! It’s about ensuring that the work that your people do are done safely, which will not cause a situation which can affect their health or safety. As a SME owner, you may have a smaller workforce, and keeping your workers safe and health can be really personal. Having a workplace where risks are managed to ensure your workers are able to do their work safely will not only help your workers but it has been shown that there is better work output!

What do the latest survey results show us? Are there any particular trends to highlight for SMEs?

The latest survey results show we’re getting on the right track for Health and Safety, which is great. However, there are some blind spots which can lead organisations to go off course. Some interesting points to note from the survey are around the awareness of critical risks, where there was a gap of confidence of leaders in knowing all the critical risks. Also, there seems to be a misunderstanding of reporting versus assurance, where it was believed that Health and Safety reports are the same thing as assurance. We found that the respondents who were Health and Safety leads were less confident on what was going through in the Health and Safety reports, and the leaders took the reports as assurance. This approach can lead to a false sense of security. For an SME owner, knowing your critical risks and what controls are in place and getting the right reports and having confidence in them is key. 

What have the changes to legislation meant for SME organisations over the last three years?

The changes have meant there is a greater emphasis of Health and Safety in New Zealand and that SMEs are required to manage health and safety just like any large organisation. This may sound daunting and expensive, but if an SME takes a tailored approach on understanding the risks of their operations it is a manageable feat to put in place the right control and management of health and safety, one which will certainly have a direct impact to their people.

01 August, 2018 by Monika Wakeman,

Monika Wakeman

Monika Wakeman

Monika Wakeman helps organisations understand and integrate Health and Safety in New Zealand and around the world.

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