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November 8, 2023

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UK businesses being ‘held back’ by operational challenges and a lack of action to address them

UK businesses are being held back by operational challenges and a lack of action to address them – experts have said.

The comments come after a survey revealed 65% of frontline workers observe operational issues monthly or more frequently, but only 45% see actions taken to address them within this timeframe.

Almost 90% of staff believe the business they are working in is failing to operate at its full potential or they are unsure about its performance.

The YouGov survey by technology company SafetyCulture was completed by frontline workers UK-wide.

Listening to the frontline

construction workerFeico Mol, SafetyCulture’s General Manager for Europe, Middle East and Asia, said: “Deskless workers are the lifeblood of the UK economy, powering some of our most essential industries. 

“We must listen to them. Our report shows how operational issues are regularly observed by workers on the frontline, but not always addressed.

“Too often, frontline workers’ views are overlooked and areas that could improve operations such as investment in technology have been focused on office-based workers.”

The survey also revealed the reasons staff believe businesses are not reaching their full potential.  More than 40% of respondents felt ineffective management was the reason, 39% cited inadequate communication and 31% said training for staff is a barrier.

Three in 10 say the last time they had valuable training from their organisation that helped improve their work was a year or more ago – but 13% feel they have never had any valuable training from their organisation.

Despite this, more than half of those surveyed believe at least a few of their workplace’s injuries could have been prevented had those involved received better training and work instructions.

More than half of respondents believe changes come from leadership 

behavioural-safetyWhen it comes to making the changes needed – more than half believe the best ideas for improvement are derived from within their ranks, 19% believed they came from leadership and 31% believe their bosses do not encourage improvements.

In addition, as many as 70% of respondents said they would prioritise safety over higher salaries when seeking a new job.

Mobile Mini, a provider of site accommodation and secure storage solutions, has recently made changes to its operation and approach to health and safety at work.

Andy Himsworth, SHEQ Advisor and Trainer, said: “It is worrying to see so many workers believe some workplace injuries could have been prevented if those involved had received better training or instructions.

“At Mobile Mini we used to have clunky and inefficient health and safety checks, all paper-based.

“Now we have embraced digital technology, our team can conduct checks on any mobile device, capture photos to provide context to hazards, near-misses or concerns on the ground.

“More robust, digitally focused audits have directly led to a reduction in accidents.”

The report did also reveal some positive forecasts for the future for frontline workers.

Feico added: “The good news is that it’s not all doom and gloom with three in five workers we asked saying that they’re optimistic about the future of their organisation.

“We share their optimism and with the right tools and communications, manufacturers can harness the latent potential within their frontline teams.”

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