Health and safety at work: keeping customers and staff safe.

On 28th April 2022 the United Nation’s World Health and Safety Day at Work took place. The issues highlighted by the UN need to remain high on the agenda of the hospitality sector.

The success of any safety strategy is underpinned by its people. Frontline workers are the ones closest to operations on the ground, providing a unique window into places of work. This means they are pivotal to driving cultural change in an organisation.

So, what can hospitality businesses do to ensure safe working practices stay on the menu?

Start with the right ingredients

To ensure health and safety is prioritised throughout the business, business owners should invest time in creating a robust strategy. With a formal health and safety strategy that outlines goals and objectives, businesses are able to better understand and consider what technology and practices are needed to launch and maintain new operational standards.

Similarly, a considered strategy will ensure that businesses allocate the right amount of investment and resources into this critical area. According to the UK Government Management of Health and Safety in the Workplace statistics, only a third of businesses in the UK have a specific health and safety budget. Having an allocated budget, focused on health and safety, is key to making plans a reality.

Key data from recent research revealed that 1 in 4 UK frontline workers don’t know where their company’s health and safety policy is, while 1 in 10 don’t even know if one exists. Clear communication and detailed onboarding plans are simple steps to take to make swift improvements in this area.

Leaning on smart safety

Empowering hospitality workers with easy-to-use technology can go a long way toward improving their effectiveness in carrying out health and safety protocols. By equipping them with the tools and autonomy to drive initiatives forward, we can help make regulations easier to follow and maintain. Introducing technology that can help staff perform checks, report issues, and collect on-the-ground data in minutes, can mean the difference between being at-risk or at the ready.

Technology can also play a key role in closing communication gaps at work – particularly across highly dispersed workforces that have become increasingly prevalent since the advent of social distancing and staff shortages due to COVID and Brexit. In particular, technology can ensure rapid communications on critical safety and policy updates, can be received via employees’ personal devices.

Similarly, technology can go a long way in ensuring the health and safety of hospitality workers in remote or isolating situations. Lone worker apps which can be added to employees’ smartphones to help provide fast GPS services, welfare checks, and panic alarms, are a prime example of how technology can make a difference. This allows for a much safer working environment, as well as helping businesses to manage employee safety more easily.

What this means for organisations?

World Health and Safety Day at Work is a time for us to reflect on what more we can do to prevent issues and incidents by creating or bolstering our safety culture in the workplace. Democratising safety technology allows businesses to lay a foundation that brings out the best in their team, their protocols and their outputs. It’s a guaranteed path to operational excellence. And most importantly, it’s how leaders can ensure staff feel confident, validated and heard: and go home safe, every day.

A version of this article first appeared on hospitality and catering news

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