Workplace health and safety is not optional. The Department of Labour has a number of Acts that enforce it in businesses, particularly the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Legal compliance, however, is only one of the reasons why your business should be taking Health and Safety seriously.

In the best of economies, health and safety are often undervalued and seen as an afterthought. It’s a grudge purchase, with many organisations – be they businesses or schools – believing that they can do the bare minimum because disasters are something that happens to ‘the other guy’. When economic hardships hit, however, health and safety moves even further down on the priority list – with organisations being tempted to reduce expenditure owing to minimal profit margins. The irony is that increased competitiveness and employee stress associated with a challenging economy often results in elevated injury rates as companies work to tight deadlines and cut corners to meet deadlines and budgets.

“The health & safety industry in South Africa comes with numerous challenges.” Comments Shone Dirker, Managing Director of Cairnmead. “One of the biggest is the need to change the mindset of people to think of health & safety as a benefit and not a burden hanging over their heads. With changing legislation and more stringent requirements to adhere to, we find that people often only comply with the health & safety requirements if they are pressured to do so. This is a dangerous approach as health & safety should be a way of life. It should be something that you integrate into your daily routine whether you are in the workplace or not.”

Importance of creating a safety culture.

Health and safety compliance is not just a legal requirement, it’s a moral obligation to create an environment where your employees, students or guests feel safe, valued and empowered. It is not just about ticking boxes once a year, it is about creating a daily routine that enforces correct behaviours.

At Cairnmead, our approach is to guide and coach organisations and schools to ensure that they understand not only the legal requirements but also the moral impact it has on an organisation and individual. When an organisation understands what is required from them, comes from the mindset of creating a safe and thriving environment, and is provided with guidance on how to achieve this, making the right decision for all becomes that much easier.

Benefits of a consistent commitment to health & safety include:  

1.   Improved Workplace Morale

When employees feel confident and secure in their workplace, morale increases, as does productivity. A happy employee, who feels valued and secure due to improved work conditions, contributes significantly to the culture of a business.

2.   Increased Productivity and Job Satisfaction

Increased productivity is a direct benefit of a safer and healthier workplace. Aside from fewer injuries and associated compensation claims, which are bad for morale, the mental benefit to an employee is significant, allowing them to work in an environment that prioritises their well-being.

3.   Improved Corporate Image and Culture

A company with a strong safety culture is viewed positively not only by employees but by the general public. More than ever before, the world holds big businesses accountable for their behaviours and by prioritising employee safety they improve their public image as well as attract and retain top employees.

4. Peace of Mind

When it comes to schools, parents demand that their children are safe and protected when they enter the building. The correct safety culture ensures their peace of mind and creates a trusting and cooperative environment.

Over the years, Cairnmead has dedicated itself to delivering services with integrity, consistency and a commitment to serving the communities, schools and businesses that we work for. Everything we do is led by our obligation to create a safer world. Cairnmead is focused on changing the mindset of the people we deal with to ensure that after each project, inspection, audit or meeting, clients understand that health & safety compliance is an absolute necessity.

If you would like more information or to hear more about the ways in which we can help, contact us and let us put our combined 267 years’ experience to work for you.

Christof Lourens

CEO Cairnmead Industrial Consultants (Pty) Ltd

Tel: 012 346 5752 | Email:

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