Work Health and Safety Fundamentals is under the spotlight as we work with a variety of working ways and a largely disparate workforce. Renewed and revitalised safety first behaviours will improve the wellbeing of the workforce, and have general workplace safety as a top priority.
It’s important that health and safety policies are strictly established. Injuries are otherwise commonplace and at the extreme, fatalities do happen. Safe Work Australia reports that fatalities in the workplace mostly occur in the transport, postal and warehousing industries, closely followed by construction, manufacturing and agriculture. When statistics were last collected in 2018:
- 44 people were fatally injured while working in 2018
- 26% of workers who died in 2018 were employed in the transport, postal and warehousing industry
- 31% of worker fatalities in 2018 were due to vehicle collisions
As we grapple with ways of working due to COVID-19 more rigid WHS practices are required. In your organisation, is a hybrid working strategy the new normal? Or is there an entire working from home approach? The industry will clearly dictate the flexibility in the options viable to be able to continue to conduct business operations.
To achieve changes in behaviour, changes in health and safety policy, procedures and systems will need to be reviewed. Buy-in and support will need to happen across the business to affect the safety first approach and minimise incidents that could have otherwise been avoided.
Employer and Worker Responsibilities
An employer has a duty of care to protect their workers, including visitors, contractors, and members of the general public. Employers need to be sure adequate facilities are available for the wellbeing of all workers, and there is access to relevant safety instruction and training.
Supervisors must be aware of all health and safety obligations in the area they are responsible for. If they recognise, or are made aware of a hazard in the workplace, supervisors are responsible for making sure that the hazard is eliminated. If that’s not possible, the risks associated with the hazard need to be reduced before asking an employee to complete the work tasks.
As employers provide necessary safety equipment and training, it’s the worker’s responsibility to use these resources and practices daily while carrying out their work duties.
Workplace risk management
Workplace hazards will occur and online training will help learners to assess the risk and reduce the number of possible incidents. The idea behind risk management is that workers and employers need to accept that certain workplace hazards exist and take necessary steps to minimise the risks associated with them. In a workplace with successful risk management processes, there will be policies and procedures around all potential hazards. These procedures can be specific to a role or more generalised, like protocols specific to emergency evacuation – or for first aid.
Common hazards and how to avoid them
To be able to identify common workplace hazards will equip workers and employers with key knowledge to avoid potential danger. Common workplace hazards cover:
- Manual tasks
- Hazardous chemicals
- Slips and trips
- Plant and equipment
- Working at heights.
Encourage a Health and Safety conscious workplace environment
With the proper knowledge and training, we can all minimise risks and take responsibility for work health and safety. Better safety equals better compliance, so ensure that your workforce is safe, consistently trained, and that they have the right qualifications for the work they are employed to do.
Sitepass is a tool that provides a single platform that can adapt to any industry needing to reduce their compliance risk. And this means a fundamentally health and safety conscious workplace environment.