Are summer staff shortages impacting your health and safety?

It’s that time of year where at most, if not all, of your staff have their summer holidays booked. Even though as a business, you try hard to ride the summer holiday period without it affecting output and productivity, it can be hard to do so, especially when other things impact on it. As a result, many aspects of your organisation are affected, not least of all health and safety.

Pressure of staff shortages

Whether it is a temporary shortage such as people being on holiday or sickness, or long term issues, the problem with not having enough staff is the pressure it places on people and processes.

Pressure affects how people think and the decisions they make and, as a result, summer staff shortages can affect standards of health and safety.

Shortcuts and cutting corners

With the pressure on a smaller cohort of staff to deliver the same level of productivity and to the same standard, there lies the potential for all kinds of shortcuts and cutting corners. In this scenario, staff can feel that health and safety is a burden and an obstacle that stops them delivering what they need to.

The need for speed in producing products, for example, can mean that guards on machinery are not used because it is quicker. There are numerous examples of cutting corners when it comes to health and safety and staff shortages but suffice to say, these processes are not always seen as protection but as an irritation.

Not enough qualified, trained people

With trained, qualified staff either on holiday or on sick leave, it can reduce the pool of skills that a team has at any given time – and that includes health and safety. But a reduced skill base also means that as a team, they will be deficient in the right level of qualifications. This can place people at risk and will undoubtedly alter the risk assessment completed for staff teams and specific production processes.

Health and safety training and supervision takes a back seat

When there are time constraints and pressures for teams to deliver with a reduced staff team, health and safety training (and supervision) can be inadvertently and unintentionally replaced with a ‘that will do’ attitude. Although health and safety means using a “common sense” approach, with training solidifying what using common sense means, when the team is shorthanded, and the pressure is on, the ‘just use common sense’ approach becomes the backstop for health and safety training.

EVERYONE is put at risk

It isn’t just staff who are put at risk from staff shortages, but everyone – customers, patients, clients and trading partners included. But it also places the business itself at risk. By not meeting essential health and safety standards, a company is left wide open to claims should things go wrong.

Staffing shortages are a drain on staff morale too, and this is not a situation businesses and organisations can shoulder indefinitely, especially when the health and safety of your staff, customers and the public is placed at risk.

How can we help you?

If you are in need of assistance with any aspect of Health and Safety management, here at Synergos we’d be delighted to help. Whether you have questions or are looking for advice and support to maintain standards, call 01484 666160 or Email info@synergosconsultancy.co.uk and we’ll be happy to talk it over with you.

 

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