By: Monica Meyer
Small to mid-size businesses have unique challenges with compliance in and management of occupational health and safety (H&S). Overall, workers in a small to mid-size business have a higher risk of workplace injury than workers in large firms, yet both workers and owners may not have a sense of this increased risk. These businesses are also more likely to face financial instability than larger firms. Together, these situations create a challenge in understanding and managing the risk of workplace incidents and compliance.
To establish or improve their H&S process and add value to a company’s bottom line, acquirers can establish an H&S program which:
- helps them understand occupational H&S regulations and tactics
- considers personal relationships, economic volatility and management concerns
- recognizes that they lack formal occupational H&S systems and resources
- considers issues related to their specific size and sector
Implementation of a H&S program and a risk management approach has different meaning to a CEO than to a manufacturing operations manager, yet in essence, it refers to managing issues that only enhance the achievement of business targets and help eliminate the negative impacts to the bottom line. Your H&S program may incorporate several components, such as H&S management systems, policy and program development, training, inspections, gap analyses, culture change, etc., all of which may intertwine. The needs of your business, prioritization of risk and compliance initiatives and an analysis of current status define the scope of your program. There is no one-size-fits-all H&S plan; it must be specific to your business in order to be understandable and easily executed.
Protecting Resources: When your risk-management program identifies and prioritizes key risks that are likely to occur, you improve your company’s chances to plan accordingly and respond proactively. In turn, this avoids unnecessary delays or incidents, allowing personnel to focus on the core efforts of the business. For example, H&S components of your program may address machine guarding and lockout tagout, eliminating a lost-time injury.
Securing a Positive Culture: The presence of a vigorous risk-management program and fully executed H&S program not only creates a positive culture, but emphasizes and showcases your company’s brand. Personnel have clear expectations and a sense of leadership from the start of their employment, while your business develops a reputation as sustainable and professional. You shape and support strategic planning through development of your program, and you establish a standard to which you can evaluate performance and adapt to changing needs. When you anticipate risk, your ground work begins, and the shock of the unexpected is dissipated.
If your company is looking for a highly qualified EH&S firm to be involved in your M&A process, please contact Monica Meyer for a FREE desktop audit to see if a wall-to-wall mock-OSHA facility audit is right for your firm.