Money or Safety…?

Author: Mike Clough

Date Posted: Wednesday 3rd April 2019

Which is more important to a business owner, the safety of his employees or making money?

The answer is of course obvious…or is it?

The answer you all shouted was of course…. ‘safety’ …but what is the point of being the ‘safest contractor’ …if…you never get any work?

I could have teams of superbly trained operatives sitting in a protected environment all wearing bubble wrap and drinking lukewarm drinks from cups carefully designed to minimise risk of a ‘hot spill incident’ – but the costs of keeping them in this continued state of training and safety costs me so much that when pricing for works my costs are prohibitively expensive.

On the other hand, I could have lads recently imported from some foreign shore with little grasp of English – let alone health and safety – who are prepared to work for peanuts on the most dangerous of demolition sites with no personal protective equipment. These guys are so bloody cheap that my prices beat everybody else and I win all the work.

Ok one or two of them lose a limb or maybe die – but there’s plenty more willing to take these jobs so I’m not that bothered.

In all seriousness here at Japanese Knotweed Solutions Ltd, we do verge toward the ‘safety’ side of things – I have always had an absolute fear of somebody working for me being injured in an accident that could easily have been prevented by training.

I do however also find myself looking back fondly on previous practice when jobs got done quicker. The site lads adapted to site situations and did what needed to be done. OK they had a more cavalier attitude to ‘getting things done’ and tended to think on their feet. Occasionally in the past people used machinery they hadn’t been trained on – they learned quickly about chainsaws and found the best way to use a rotovator by using one – not just reading about the theory.

There were a few bruises but nobody got seriously hurt.

Nowadays I’m surprised we ever even get on site and actually get the job done. So much paperwork and so much training to be done before we ever get near any real site conditions.

Health and safety costs go up …. whilst our prices are forced down by competition.

This is when ‘other companies’ cut corners….

…. now where’s that bubble wrap?

Mike C

Author Strip Background

Mike Clough

550 Articles

View Articles by Author