The truth is that the more employees you have the more complex Workplace safety is to control. The more employees you have the more potential that exists for introduced hazards (From outside by the employee), differing interpretation of what is safe, varying levels of education, knowledge and training, inconsistent enforcement of policy and procedures and a diverse employee base with varying levels of OH&S knowledge.
All this means is that the job of ensuring the health and safety of employees is always happening, it cannot sleep. Safety can not ignored for a second because hazards are always there irrespective of your concentration levels.
Historically the main safety concerns revolve around working at heights, entering and working in confined space, mobile plant such as boom lifts, scissor lifts, forklifts and cranes coming into contact with workers and electrocution.
The safety culture of a workplace often dictates the outcomes. An active safety culture is always open to improvement as consultation, management commitment, safety reporting procedures, training and supervision and financing effective risk controls is a standard within the business, not just an expectation.
A deficiency in one, some or all of these areas directly effect the safety outcomes that you receive.
- Have regular meetings with all work groups within your business
- Encourage consultation to discuss safety issues
- Involve your workers in developing safety procedures
- Value and encourage the views of your workers in relation to safety
- Ensure managers and workers clearly understand and act on their safety responsibilities
- Invest time and money into the safety of your workforce
- Actively promote safety as a high priority in your workplace
- Always involve management in all workplace safety initiatives
- Monitor to ensure managers lead by example – The standard they walk past is the standard that management set for your business
Safety Reporting Procedures
- Ensure you have a system for reporting safety issues & incidents
- Encourage the reporting of all incidents, including near misses
- Ensure all reported incidents are followed up
- Review all risk controls and training after any incident
- Notify Worksafe of any serious incidents, serious injuries, significant near misses or fatalities
Training and Supervision
- Conduct new employee inductions and provide new employees with all required safety training
- Ensure all workers are given instruction and knowledge about the risks, risk controls and safe work procedures related to their jobs before they begin work
- Ensure all workers complete their work safely by confirming they understand safe work procedures
- Ensure adequate supervision in your workplace to confirm that all working procedures are being followed
- Consult with workers to help identify potential risk in your workplace
- Consult with workers to ensure all hazards have been identified in your workplace
- With the involvement of management and workers assess all risks in your workplace
- Work with management and workers to eliminate all possible risks
- Hazards that cannot be eliminated, must have the risk reduced so far as reasonably practicable
- Review all hazards and risk controls regularly
Return to Work
- Provide all workers with information about return to work policies
- Develop return to work arrangements for injured workers to help them to return safely an quickly to work
- Ensure return to work coordinators maintain regular contact with injured workers
- When inured workers return to work ensure their duties are suitable. Modifying duties or allocating alternative work may be required
Ensuring the safety of your workforce whilst ensuring the financial viability of your workplace can be challenging. One can not live without the other.
So whilst management focus on both making money safely, we all must do our bit to assist our companies and our own livelihoods by always asking the question “How safe in my workplace”