By James Taylor, London Partner, Global Occupier Services
In today’s world, employees increasingly have a rightful expectation to return home from work safe and unharmed. As a society, we now travel more, work more, and have more extreme leisure experiences than ever before. Although often unnoticed, commercial organizations invest significant resources into reducing the risks that we are exposed to as we live our day-to-day lives.
Health and safety, as a concept, have evolved to allow us to enjoy opportunities and experiences without being put at risk. Health and safety impacts us in a huge number of ways – without us even realizing it. Our homes, cars, workspaces and leisure equipment, are all designed to enrich our lives while also keeping us safe. And yet, for some, the impact of health and safety has been seen as negative or in some ways over-burdensome, acting as ‘red tape’ preventing us from doing what we want to do and when we want to do it. What cannot be disputed is the positive impact that health and safety legislation has had on accident and injury rates in the workplace. Since the very first formal health and safety laws were brought into statute, accident and injury rates have improved dramatically. For example, since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in The United Kingdom fatal injuries to employees in the workforce have fallen by 85%.
The Cushman & Wakefield brand is synonymous with service excellence and the provision of inspiring and safe places to work, shop and live. Our people recognize the damage that can be done to a brand, or a client’s brand, if a serious incident was to occur. HSSE (Health, Safety, Security & Environment) at Cushman & Wakefield is a key priority for our employees and is blended into every aspect of their working lives. In partnership with our employees and service partners, we strive to provide services that are protective of health,
safety, security and the environment and we have developed a culture based on continuous improvement and employee involvement.
Leadership Involvement Is Key To Developing A Successful Safety Strategy
Strong leadership involvement in safety programs benefits both leaders and employees by focusing attention on safety and allowing employees to feedback to their line management on areas that either inspire or concern them. A fair and honest culture allows employees to openly discuss HSSE issues with management, a process that, as well as helping to manage risk, also encourages innovation and continuous improvement in services and products. Leaders are happy to get involved as they realize the inextricable link between good governance in the area of HSSE and profitable outcomes.
Implementing HSSE strategies across a globalized marketplace presents unique challenges largely centered around expansive geographies, a diverse legislative backdrop and disparate cultural attitudes to health and safety.
To address these challenges digital media and technology are increasingly being used alongside traditional methods to help us manage safety across multi-national businesses. Companies that are serious about managing HSSE issues effectively across borders must remain at the forefront of technological advancements and the benefits that these can bring to effective risk management. The unstoppable march of handheld application-based technology represents a huge opportunity for intelligent safety programs that target HSSE initiatives directly to the point of need to the right person at the right time. These technologies are evolving all the time and Cushman & Wakefield is already exploiting these technologies for the benefit of our employees, occupiers and clients.
James A. Taylor is a Partner in Cushman & Wakfield’s Global Occupier Services group based in London.