Four industry leaders explain the OSH human capital implications for business set out in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Emma Larkins CMIOSH
Consultant and tutor, The Bradley Group
Investing in people through training, mentoring and support will help the UN achieve its SDGs of good health and wellbeing, quality education, and decent work and economic growth. Knowing more about OSH risks, and developing good risk-aware habits, could help businesses achieve higher standards of health and safety. This will improve productivity because they will be driven more by consensus than demand. Everyone has a role to play in translating this within our business, from having more open and challenging conversations between the professional staff to giving more knowledge and help to support staff.
Samantha Mepham CMIOSH
Partner, health and safety, Rider Levett Bucknall
Without human capital, businesses are unlikely to be sustainable. As OSH’s fundamental priority is to protect people, its interest is understandable but the use of human capital to create a better future goes beyond those attempting to keep people healthy, safe and well. Businesses need to consider it holistically and encourage buy-in from all: the board driving collaborative strategies, human resources investing in training, internal sustainability teams using their knowledge to educate, and procurement ensuring suppliers apply the same principles within their own workforce. We all have our part to play in the protection of our people and our planet.
John McNamee CMIOSH
Co-founder and principal consultant at Ravensdale Health, Safety & Wellbeing
As many industries and businesses are rarely proactive in adopting long-term undefined strategies such as the UN’s SDGs, many organisations will tick the boxes that clients require. As industry is often reliant on legislation, insurance requirements or media focus to drive change, recent events have demonstrated that, in times of real crisis, society and industry rely upon the goodwill and compassion of many people. Senior leadership teams, particularly HR and business development departments, will need to define, develop and clearly communicate the organisation’s direction, while also investing to cultivate the economic and social value their people bring.
Amy Goldsbrough CMIOSH
Regional health and safety manager (North West), Unite Students
Within the SDGs, wellbeing stands out as it’s such a large part of our industry now, particularly considering our experiences in 2020. Ensuring our teams and colleagues are coping has become part of our daily check-ins with each other. The benefits of this are felt throughout the business, and key collaboration colleagues would include finance, HR and operations. HR would be particularly beneficial in the creation and roll-out of inclusive wellbeing programmes that go beyond standalone initiatives.