Accidents and injury are an ever present threat in the workplace. Slips and trips, falling from height, falling objects, repetitive injury, back and shoulder strain, muscular strains and sprains, machinery incidents – every workplace can present opportunities for employee safety hazards.
Unfortunately, the outcome of unexpected workplace safety incidents can sometimes be even more drastic. From 2003 to 2016, 3,414 workers have tragically lost their lives in work-related incidents in Australia.
While there are a portion of workplace incidents every year in Australia which can be constituted as “freak accidents”, many could have been avoided. Effective hazard management not only ensures Australian businesses can stay compliant with the many rigorous rules and regulations in place, such procedures and policies can save lives.
No matter what industry your business operates in, whether you run a construction firm, factory, leisure centre, cleaning company or “safety first” should be your number one policy . This “safety ethos” should be evident in every employee from the top down. From the moment an employee begins employment with your company, they should be immediately aware of just how seriously the company takes workplace safety.
Every single employee has a role to place in hazard management, and they should recognise that. If an employee reports a potential safety hazard, immediate action should be taken by senior management. Doing so demonstrates to the workforce how much a company appreciates and how committed they are to ensuring worker safety.
A workplace that is renowned for a commitment to safety is a much more attractive place to work and studies have shown time and time again that where workers feel safe and valued in their environment, they are more productive.
Empowering employees with knowledge of how to identify hazards, respond to safety issues and conduct their work in a safe manner is key. All new employees should be trained on how to record and report safety hazards and tested on their knowledge of safety policies and procedures. Gaps in safety knowledge are a significant hazard and a key contributor to workplace incidents.
Current employees, from every department, and of every level of seniority, should partake in regular safety refresher courses and training. Revisiting safety policies and procedures and regular meetings to discuss hazards and hazard management creates a positive safety culture.
The use of hazard management software can prove critical in identifying, reporting and resolving potential safety hazards. With so many processes and procedures across the workplace environment, it is easy for hazards to go unnoticed or unreported. Through the use of hazard management software, companies can ensure complete visibility of any potential safety issues.
Having such tools in place ensure recording and reporting hazards are part of everyone’s daily tasks and become immediately visible to senior management. It is all too easy for hazards to get lost in paper or in e-mail chains or miscommunicated otherwise. Hazard management software tools can be deployed across any device, meaning that workers can instantly log and report hazards on the job, anytime, anywhere.
Such software solutions provide visible evidence of a company’s efforts to ensure effective hazard management and can be used to demonstrate legislative compliance during external safety audits.
Even if you think you’ve got safety in hand, get an external view. Employing safety auditors and consultants to regularly review your policies, procedures and processes can help to bring unidentified safety hazards to the fore.
With workers so used to operating a certain way and following the same procedures day in, day out, hazards could be staring them in the face but not be recognised. A fresh set of eyes and insight from external experts helps businesses to ensure total hazard management.
Prevention is always better than cure. Active and effective hazard management protects workers, improves company culture and can protect the longevity of your business.