It is now widely recognised that corporate social responsibility influences the development of health and safety management within an organisation, and is an important part of integrating it into a company’s overall management. But what does this really mean?
Health and safety and corporate social responsibility
Occupation health and safety (OSH) covers issues related to the social, mental and physical well-being of workers, something that we have covered in previous articles. Health and safety was for a long time seen as protecting only the physical, but we know now that looking after and being more aware of the effects of work on mental health pays dividends for our most important asset in business: its people.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is defined by the International Labour Organisation as “a way in which enterprises give consideration to the impact of their operations on societies and affirm their principles and values, both in their own internal methods and processes and in their interaction with other actors”.
In other words, CSR is how you, as a large organisation, interact with everything and everyone around you as part of what you do every day. This is voluntary driven, with initiatives not construed or contrived for your own purpose, but to simply ‘give back’.
Essentially, it is things like supporting your local football team, funding projects that don’t necessarily bring you more business, but places the business as an integral part of the local community or, as we do here at Synergos, support local charities not just with donations but with publicity and so on.
The European Commission defines CSR as a concept whereby companies and organisations recognise concerns about their impact on the environment and social aspect of the local community, making it part of their business structure. By doing so, a large company goes above and beyond what is expected in law, such as minimising environmental damage and so on, and being an active member of the community.
In other words, as a business, you are not just doing something because you have to by law, you are doing so because you understand the need for your business to protect the environment, society, community and so on.
What’s the link with health and safety?
Health and safety within an organisation is about worker health and well-being, but it expands beyond that, something recognised within CSR. Some people suggest dropping the work corporately, opting instead to refer to social responsibility and health and safety because by doing so, it recognises;
- Sustainable development includes the health and welfare of society
- It takes account of stakeholder expectations
- Companies are compliant with not just current OSH laws but the ‘norms’ of society too
There are numerous case studies that clearly demonstrate the close link between health and safety and social responsibility. Various agencies have commented on this link but all agree – there is no doubt, that safe and practical working conditions and good worker health belong to the social responsibilities that companies and organisations have. And you can’t have one without the other. To be socially responsible, you must start with health and safety within your business and from there, the impact on the community at large will be clearly felt.
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 email@example.com and we’ll be happy to talk it over with you.