Safety in Your Supply Chain is Crucial!

Safety in Your Supply Chain

Health and safety in your Supply Chain is a necessary undertaking for businesses of any size and type. Accidents happen, but much less so thanks to robust and comprehensive legislation that keeps businesses in check when it comes to staff safety.

In many cases, health and safety is taken for granted by workers and management alike – especially in administrative businesses, and larger businesses with multiple stages and processes. Your business’ supply chain, from manufacture or training to client or customer, needs to be rendered just as safe as any individual office.

But what are the reasons for such an endeavour?

Staff – and Client – Health and Safety

As an employer, you have a duty of care to the staff you employ. Not only is this a legal duty (more on which later), but also a moral one; you should be actively taking every step you can to ensure that your staff are appropriately safe, secure, and looked after within their role and environment.

There are legal frameworks that you are required to follow as an employer, which are also useful as guidance for ensuring your working environments are suitably safe. The Health and Safety Executive is the government body responsible for workplace health and safety, and offers comprehensive guides to the various measures and items of legislation that govern approaches to safety.

Staff are not the only people on your supply chain exposed to risk, though. There are others that can experience risk as a result of your supply chain, from contractors to manufacturers and even your clients themselves. Every aspect of your supply chain should be assessed for risk and managed accordingly.

Market Reputation

Speaking of clients and customers, reputation is a vital part of long-term business success. There are numerous factors and variables that play into your business’ reputation in your market, with your consumer base, and within your target demographic, from product quality to speed of service and even societal and environmental commitments.

But one less recognised factor is that of staff treatment, or ‘governance’. Poor employee reviews on Glassdoor can be enough to topple faith in a business, but more existential threats to business reputation can be found in health and safety failures.

Any preventable accidents or incidents that publicly result in staff injury are PR nightmares for the businesses that experience them, highlighting as they do the corners a business may have cut or intimating a level of disdain for the workers that keep the business ticking.

In short, health and safety has a PR angle as well as a moral one. Ensuring your supply chain does not introduce undue risk is ensuring that your business maintains its hard-earned reputation amongst customers both new and regular, and in a wider industry. 

Cost and Legality

Poor workplace health and safety comes with an attached cost – both legal and literal. For one, falling foul of UK health and safety laws (namely, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974) can lead to serious penalties, from fines to custodial sentences depending on the severity of the incident in question.

A business could also be on the hook for a civil claim from the injured party, if the accident was not the fault of the party and if proper approaches to health and safety would have otherwise eliminated the hazard that caused the incident.

Some parts of your supply chain – especially packaging and logistics – are dangerous enough environments to present serious risk of lifelong injury; a brain injury compensation claim from a warehouse operative could not only be bad PR, but also financially damaging. 

This is to say nothing of the direct business costs that can arise from an avoidable supply chain injury. Not only may your business insurance premium increase owing to the accident, but you will be a staff member down for recovery while continuing to pay their salary. 

Progress will also slow or even halt, costing significant man-hours and running the risk of losing clients. Slowed supply chains result in late shipments and missed deadlines, which in turn impact reputation. One single accident could cause a cavalcade of staff and repair costs, exacerbated by projected loss of income.


Proper approaches to health and safety across your supply chain can also have profound positive impacts on your workforce – particularly in relation to productivity. Satisfied and motivated employees are productive ones, and safe environments are a crucial step to satisfaction – through the winning of trust.

If your staff cohort know that you are sparing no expense for their safety, from PPE to staff training, they are more likely to place their trust in your regarding wider business strategy and long-term career prospects. Not only this, but they will be naturally more comfortable operating within their specific station.

Altogether, this can have the impact of improving workplace productivity. Staff are able to work quickly and efficiently without being slowed by inadequate health and safety provisions, or by poor training and increased departmental injury figures.

Safety in your Supply Chain article and permission to publish here provided by Bronwyn Linkhorn. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on October 21, 2022.