Tips for National Safe Work Month

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With thousands of workplace injuries each year, and over 111 Australian work-related deaths in 2019 to date, instilling safety across workplaces is imperative for any organisation. While the numbers of workplace fatalities have declined from the 190 recorded in 2017 and 148 in 2018, the encouragement of both employees and employers Australia-wide to secure safe and healthy workplaces needs to continue to be driven.

October 2019 is National Safe Work Month; four weeks of the year campaigned by Safe Work Australia to drive awareness around the importance of workplace health and safety within organisations and industries. Highlighting the duty of care involved in employment, the campaign promotes workplace “Safety Champions”; those instilling best practice work health and safety initiatives. But what do these practices and initiatives look like? And how can you encourage the team to continue to prioritise safety after National Work Safety Month ends? Here are a few tips.

Behaviour and culture

Take the time to sit down to honestly review the current safety culture in place. How does everybody rate it out of 10? Discuss any near misses or incidents in the last 10 years that could have been attributed to behavioural issues. Ask for suggestions or thoughts on how it could be improved – get your team’s buy-in.

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Training

Has every person received appropriate training? When was the training last reviewed – is it still relevant? Are there any suggestions for improvement? People cannot be expected carry out work safely if they’ve not been properly shown how.

Procedures and process

Involve all stakeholders in your organisation to thoroughly review the current systems in place. Are all the requirements and currently enforced systems clear and easily understood? Are there any elements of risk that could be improved, or is there an opportunity to improve on efficiencies? Are there any major causes for concern? A clear set of procedures, and an efficient, easy-to-follow process will ensure consistency in approach and an improved safety record.

Hardware

Do you have the correct tools for the job? Is safety being compromised for cost? Is incorrect hardware rendering the isolation ineffectual, or increasing the time it’s taking to isolate? Energy sources in the workplace are varied – electricity, hydraulics, compressed air, steam, gas – and it’s important to have the correct hardware to perform effective isolations. Often, inefficiencies in carrying out procedures due to incorrect hardware have a much larger cost than the hardware itself.

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Compliance

Do all the stakeholders in the business have a solid understanding of what is required with regards to legislation and the code of practice? Is there an internal mechanism you can implement to ensure self or peer managed compliance?

Visit Safe Work Australia for more information.