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The 7 societal factors that influence the health and safety standards of an organisation

health and safety standards

Health and safety standards can be influenced positively or negatively by certain societal factors. These societal factors make companies practise good health and safety standards. Others may fail to practise good health and safety standards because of these factors.

However, here is the list of the 7 societal factors that can influence the organisation’s health and safety standards.

Government policy.

Policies of the government influence the health and safety of an organization. Government policy centred on occupational health and safety influences HSE. The government can enact legislation affecting occupational safety and health. The organisations will follow the policy and the legislation and commit to obeying them. 

For example, the UK government published an independent document called Working for a Healthier Tomorrow that identifies challenges and sets out recommendations for reform on health, work and well-being. The following points can be seen in the report.

  • Evidence suggests that the working population is healthier than those who do not work. Families without a member working are likely to suffer persistent low income and poverty.
  • Life expectancy in the UK is higher than ever, yet millions of working days are lost to work-related illness.

Economic climate. 

Wealthy countries have the resources to enforce health and safety. Such countries have basic life amenities like food, shelter and clean water. In countries where these amenities are lacking, occupational health and safety suffer.

In other words, there is a strong correlation between wealthy nations and good safety standards.

Business risk profile.

When a business has a high-risk activity, there is the possibility of workers getting injured. So the business will have a high safety standard of control in its dealing. For example, the oil and gas industry has a higher safety standard than those companies that operate in an office.

Level of sickness absence. 

Sickness absence affects health and safety standards. When more people are going on sick leave, work productivity is affected.

However, this may mar the business as well. More people going on sick leave means that work exposes the workers to health and safety hazards that need urgent attention. In the UK, the sickness absence has gradually reduced, though there are still lost days to sickness every year.


The Globalisation of Business.

Many businesses are going overseas to a different environment from their host countries. The safety standards expected of those businesses are likely to be different from country to country. and most likely due to differences in culture and communication. 

Migration of workers.

The migration of workers brings about cultural and communication differences from country to country. Health and safety standards would be affected by migration.

Equality from societal expectations.

Societal expectations can influence health and safety standards. The way society views equality for everyone influences health and safety standards. 

For instance, in the UK, the Equality Act expects all businesses not to discriminate against people with disabilities. and that they have equal employment opportunities as anyone else.

Equally, the workplace design has to favour people with disabilities by introducing lifts and ramps to ease access and egress to the workplace. 


Final thoughts: Societal factors that influence the health and safety standards of an organisation

Health and safety standards can be grossly affected by those factors listed above. But then, the influence can be positive or negative because of varying differences in people, businesses and cultures. More so, safety standards have to be promoted by all at all times. 

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