The necessity of wellbeing as a part of health and safety governance

Much has been written about the importance of health and safety within the workplace, however, the definition of health and safety has evolved in recent years.

No longer is it just policies on ‘hard hats and high visibility’, instead it entails looking after the psychological as well as physical wellbeing of employees. It is important for board members to understand this fact as staff retention is becoming an ever more pressing issue in the modern workplace.

In a piece of research by Benenden Health, 63% of employers noted that their employees place their work/life balance above all else since the pandemic. Meanwhile, according to research by Zippia, 57% of job-seekers say a poor work–life balance is a dealbreaker when looking for a new role. In 2020 it was found that over 0.8 million people suffered from work-related stress, anxiety and depression in research undertaken by the Labour Force Survey 2020.

This is why employee wellbeing must become a regular topic of discussion at the board level. Not only is the wellbeing of everyone in an organisation a moral imperative, but it is an increasingly important topic for risk management. While the risks associated with lapses in physical health and safety are obvious, such as lawsuits and personal injury payouts, the risks of poor workplace wellbeing can be just as costly. They include:

  • increased sick days: employees are more likely to take sick days when facing adverse working conditions
  • quiet quitting: employees whose wellbeing is impacted by their role are more likely to be unproductive and demotivated
  • increased employee turnover due to staff ‘burning out’
  • greater potential for reputational damage from burned-out employees making mistakes, bad employer reviews and being branded a toxic workplace.

In our course, Building Board Effectiveness for Health and Safety, we look to tackle wellbeing as part of a holistic approach to health and safety in governance. In this course you will learn:

  • the strategic context of health, safety and wellbeing (HS&W)
  • what good governance looks like in the context of HS&W
  • links between good corporate governance and good HS&W
  • key elements for boards, including leadership, values and culture; risk oversight; board HS&W information; audit and assurance processes; and annual HS&W Review
  • the sorts of challenging questions that board members should ask.

If you are interested in joining the course or signing up members of your team, contact us today for more information.

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