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Establishing the Chain of Responsibility

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It’s is important for every business to have policies and procedures in place to establish, maintain, and enforce a clear chain of responsibility for every operation the business undertakes.

Chain of Responsibility

This is a concept that has existed for many years in the military, hospitals, and emergency services, but hasn’t always received the attention it deserves in the majority of civilian work places.

There are many advantages to properly setting up a clear chain of responsibility in your work place. Some of these advantages include:

    • Helps workers to better understand their responsibilities. When the responsibilities are clearly defined and understood, and when it is clear there will be consequences for failures related to those responsibilities, it will have a tendency to make workers take a more responsible attitude to their duties.
    • Helps with project tracking. With a good system in place to monitor and enforce the chain of responsibility, it provides an easy way to know when tasks have been completed at each step along the chain.
    • Helps identify problem areas. When you have staff who are not meeting their responsibilities adequately, there is no place for them to hide when you have a proper chain of responsibility system in place. Keep in mind that it is not always the worker who is at fault, but sometimes the task itself may need more personnel or more training, and the chain of responsibility can help identify this kind of problem.
    • Helps cut legal costs. There are some court battles you can win by keeping them going for as long as possible, but it’s usually a counter-productive strategy. The chain of responsibility system can reduce the time it takes to discover if you’re liable, how much you ought to be liable, and who (or what) was ultimately responsible for the problem that occurred. Knowing this information rapidly can at least let your legal team decide when it’s smarter to settle and when it’s smarter to fight.

The most important benefit of implementing a proper chain of responsibility system in your work place is that it will help to eliminate blind spots in your operational oversight. It ultimately ensures that the responsibility for any problem can be traced back to its source as quickly and easily as possible.

The chain of responsibility is integral to safety and risk management

Accidents happen, and they’re not always somebody’s fault. The fault can also be introduced by third parties, and in more extreme situations by criminal activity, industrial sabotage, or even consequences of wildlife. It’s much more usual, however, for such problems to be the result of failures somewhere along the chain of responsibility.

For example, it could be the case that a container supplied by a third party manufacturer breaks open and this results in a safety incident occurring. While part of the blame rests with the supplier who provided the faulty container, the chain of responsibility would allow you to identify who accepted the faulty goods, and to investigate why the faults were not discovered prior to acceptance of the goods.

This shouldn’t be seen as purely a disciplinary issue. There are other very important considerations here, such as identifying the need for training, identifying logistics and supply problems, identifying risk factors, and so on.

LinkSafe is an Australian expert in site management services

To find out more about implementing an effective chain of responsibility system in your work place, contact LinkSafe on 1300 558 102. We can connect you with an expert consultant who will have extensive experience in setting up chain of responsibility in Australian work places.

We are helping Australian businesses create safer working environments and reduce their legal liability problems through effective management and consultation services.

The Importance of Visitor Management in Site Security

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Visitor management is an important part of site security for a number of reasons. Staying vigil when it comes to who visits a site can prevent damages and loss, such as may occur in the case of a visitor with malicious intent, as well as increase the safety of everyone on the site.

Dealing with visitors on site

Even the most well-meaning visitors can be a hazard to themselves and to others. Without the full training provided to employees, visitors may not know what and where is safe and how to approach various hazards that they may be presented with on site. They may also not be aware of the correct safety gear to wear and may need to be provided with a high vis vest, helmet, and other gear depending on which part or parts of the site they are attending and its current state.

Ensuring that visitors won’t be a danger to themselves and others and that they won’t violate OH&S, is vital to maintaining good site security. Visitor management software not only tells you who is visiting and from where, but it can automatically—without the need for manual reception—track visitors on site and ensure they have the training they need via online safety modules displayed in the free-to-download app (for both iOS and Android) that LinkSafe provides. It can also assist visitors so that they don’t get lost on a site.

The specific safety inductions the app provides are based on your site and can be signed by visitors before entry to the site. This not only reduces the potential for accidents by giving up to date training to all visitors, but it also helps ensure legal requirements for site safety are met. And all data recorded, including the time, will be sent to a secure central database, providing even more security and reasons to use LinkSafe.

Dealing with malicious intent on site

Not all visitors to a site have good intentions. Because it is not always easy to tell legitimate visitors from those who intend to cause harm, having a system in place to track and manage every person who attends a site is highly important. Identifying legitimate visitors makes it far easier to also identify illegitimate ones and prevent a problem from occurring before it happens.

By using digital visitor management software, all legitimate visitors can be smoothly tracked. With the software, arrivals are never unexpected, and access to secure areas can be centrally controlled. Remote monitoring means that every site detail can be observed and recorded, down to the entry point your visitors come through. Security will be made an easier job too and will come down to checking who has clearance and keeping out those who don’t. LinkSafe’s system also offers expert help with the setup, so you can be protected soon after you choose the system and rest easy that everything will be in working order from the start.

LinkSafe’s system is one that your company can employ quickly and easily to simplify the visitor management process and add an extra layer of security. It can be set up fast, ensuring you have peace of mind and are able to focus your attention on your work instead of on further safeguarding it.

With its free-to-download app, highly-detailed recordings sent to a secure central database, photo ID and signature collection, automated options, and ability to prepare a wearable pass for visitors, LinkSafe’s system is superior to most other systems out there. If you’ve been considering an upgrade, you’ve found the one. LinkSafe will save you time and money.

Top 5 Risks of Using Spreadsheets to Manage Your Business

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Spreadsheets may seem like an excellent option for managing your business—they can be used in a variety of ways to record information—and in many ways they are. But relying on them comes with risks too. Knowing the risks can help you take action to protect yourself and your business, whether you continue to use spreadsheets or upgrade to a superior system.

  1. Spreadsheets can be inaccurate

Data in spreadsheets can be inaccurate as a result of many things. Human error is at the top of that list. It can be easy for an untrained worker to make a mistake, and even those with spreadsheet skills can input data incorrectly.

  1. Spreadsheets require a lot of upkeep

Not only do spreadsheets need to be set up correctly, with the correct formulas and references as well as the right structure, they must be maintained regularly. Maintenance is needed to prevent the introduction of errors, to ensure users have the correct and up to date version, and to ensure the information remains confidential. This can involve a lot of work and high attention to detail.

  1. Spreadsheets are a poor option for sharing information

Unless a spreadsheet contains static information and doesn’t need to be changed often or at all, sharing it with users can be a disaster. Very easily, multiple versions of a spreadsheet can be spread around a workplace.

Users can make their own changes and pass their version on to others, making it difficult to know which version of the spreadsheet is the most correct at any one time. One user may assume they have the most recent version and update it, while another does the same thing resulting in conflicting information.

  1. Spreadsheets can be a disorganised way of organising

Keeping records in spreadsheets may seem like a good idea at first, but it can become a complicated and messy way to organise information, fast. Not only can the content in the spreadsheets themselves be all over the place and difficult to navigate, if you have multiple files needing to be updated regularly, you need to have these files saved somewhere relevant and to go into each individual file one at a time to update them—an inefficient way to work.

Files can become too large as well, meaning you must create a new file to hold further information needing to be recorded—which is yet another file that will need to be stored in some way. Very quickly, these files can add up and clutter your desktop, and even create more work in organising storage and labels for them so they can be accessed as needed. It’s messy and clunky.

  1. Spreadsheets can limit integration with other business applications

Many businesses use a combination of software for managing finances, among other things. For example, a business may use Excel, accounting software, and emails. If this information is not integrated in some way, it can easily become orphaned or lost or forgotten. This can lead to major issues come tax time or even on a daily basis when trying to find information.

The above risks can severely impact your business and how effectively it is run. Any one of these risks can lead to a financial loss, whether an error or just inefficiency requiring more work hours to be put in. If you’re ready to make a change, contact us at LinkSafe to help you shift your systems over to a more secure option.

LinkSafe can help record, assign, monitor and report on hazards your business may be facing, and can even help to speed up your digital work with its range of customisable applications.

Contractor Management in the Digital Age

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Contractor management is a legal obligation. Contractors have requirements and so do the companies that employ them. In the digital age, there is particular importance in getting things right. Ensuring information is correct when managing your contractors is vital as one tiny mistake can lose you time and money.

Manual tracking can produce errors, especially on big jobs and jobs where any part of the process is rushed or low on time to be completed. This is why using an advanced digital system—advanced because it simplifies tasks while ensuring safety, security, and a high level of accuracy—is recommended by LinkSafe. Digital management systems are beneficial to your business in several ways.

Efficient Time Management

Any job involves a lot of moving parts, with a lot of work that needs to be done and all too often not enough time to do it in. Organising contractors has to be done efficiently, and with as little time spent chasing up loose ends as possible. Paper management can often result in lost time chasing down documents, figuring out who to contact, and ensuring time on the job is recorded.

Digital management systems integrate all of this, smoothly displaying needed data when required, and allowing for easy manipulation of work orders and contractor requirements. This means time spent managing contractors massively decreases.

Prequalification

Getting new contractors and new employees up to date with a job’s procedures, and training them in the necessary systems, can take a lot of time and effort. Digital management systems allow for custom training modules to be created that can be completed online. Every new worker who starts a job simply completes the online training beforehand and arrives ready to work and prequalified.

Any extra needs can be addressed smoothly on an individual basis, and industry certifications can be tracked as well.

Compliance and Legal Requirements

Most industries require standards to be met for legal reasons, and many different levels of government have their own rules and regulations. Ensuring every individual contractor is aware of the requirements of their job, and also ensuring they follow those requirements, can be a nightmare.

Digital management not only allows you to quickly and easily see what requirements need to be met, and to track those that already have, it also puts the responsibility to meet these requirements into the contractor’s hands. With the digital management software walking them through requirements on an as-needed and on the job basis, everything is up to code as soon as it is done.

Data Accuracy

Data accuracy is important not just in ensuring your business records can be referred to and relied on for work purposes, but also to meet your legal obligations. Inaccurate data can cause many problems in the workplace. From placing a supply order for the wrong quantity to underpaying or overpaying employees to reporting the wrong financial information at tax time, what may seem like a small error when it happens can quickly escalate and lose your company money and time. Ensuring data is accurate cannot be highly enough recommended. Using a digital management system can make this much easier and more efficient.

Digital management software turns tracking all the small but vital details of contractor management from a time-consuming nightmare into a smooth and powerful tool. The system ensures that legal obligations are met, data is accurately recorded and kept, and communication between you and contractors is kept up to date in case of any last minute changes. LinkSafe offers the solution to any and all contractor management problems with powerful software to suit all businesses.

LinkSafe QR Codes and How They’re Used

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One of the most powerful task automation features of the LinkSafe system is the ability to use QR codes to check contractors are compliant and to allow them to sign in on-site.

QR codes can be implemented and displayed at the worksite in many different ways, and the best way to display them can depend on the nature of the site area where they are to be displayed and the permanency of the installation.

QR codes could be used to record when a person checks in to a site, when they check out from the site, to permit or deny access to an area, or to record the commencement or completion of a task.

The most typical use of QR codes is to sign workers in to unmanned sites. They can also be used on any worksite, however. There is no requirement for the site to be unmanned for QR codes to be a practical solution. In fact, using QR codes is usually the best possible solution on any site where attendance needs to be logged or where mission critical tasks need to be tracked.

How QR codes are used on the worksite

Contractors arriving on the site scan QR codes using their own mobile device. This will connect to check the LinkSafe servers and record the check in event. If the QR code is scanned a second time by the same device, this would constitute a check out event.

The same method can be used for tracking the start and end time of a particular task and can also be used to record attendance at meetings or other events where it is important to know how many people are in attendance and who they are.

Because contractors use their own devices, it saves your company from having to spend money providing devices for the purpose.

Best practice to follow and policy considerations

Advantages of LinkSafe

LinkSafe offers the best system for check in, check out, attendance tracking, and site access control. The benefits include:

  • Improved security – nobody can enter the site without a valid QR code scan
  • Better emergency management – you know where each contractor is, and how many people are present, including (if the system has been set up to do this) what specific areas each of them can be found
  • Better site auditing – having accurate data of who is present in which areas and at what times is helpful in investigations, as well as detecting problematic conditions such as people working excess hours in occupations where there are legal mandates prohibiting this (e.g. Air Traffic Controllers).
  • Simplified compliance management – LinkSafe allows you to store all the legal compliance data (insurance status, qualifications, licenses, site induction completion, etc.) for every contractor, so you can quickly access information and receive notifications of impending problems before they occur.
  • Comprehensive reporting – you can generate a flexible range of custom reports to suit any business reporting need related to site management.

To find out how you can bring these benefits to your company, talk to a LinkSave representative.

To find out more about how you can bring these benefits to you LinkSafe, talk to a LinkSafe consultant today.

Protection of Data in LinkSafe

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LinkSafe is designed from the ground up as a secure system, but no system has ever been devised that is completely invulnerable from attack. The practices outlined below are not only good procedures to follow for protecting LinkSafe but can be applied in general to any kind of IT system that requires keeping data protected.

Password policies and user permissions

Any experienced IT administrator will confirm that most users prefer the shortest, simplest passwords they can get away with. This unfortunately resulted in the creation of a widespread practice of requiring passwords to be complex, because those simple passwords are amazingly easy to crack.

The factors in play here are that the ordinary users want convenience, while the IT administrators want security. The IT administrators have the upper hand, because they can set policies that force the users to conform with the standards set by the administrators.

This creates a massive problem because many users are unable to remember complex passwords without writing them down, and the writing down a complex password renders that password insecure.

Smart users don’t write down their passwords but may more easily forget them. Forgotten passwords lead to lost time and decreased productivity. It’s a losing situation all round, and one that places your business in an unnecessary risk position.

Password complexity may have been somewhat helpful in the distant past when computing power was very low, but in modern times a credit card sized computer can crack short complex passwords in a matter of hours, and often even less time.

Most password policies require the password to be at least 6 characters in length, contain at least one uppercase and one lowercase letter, at least one number, and possibly also a special character such as a punctuation symbol. This is something like the IT administrator hopes the user will choose:

r&E6qwGg

But what the users will probably choose is something like:

Pass123!

Or:

Asdf123!

The reason is that these latter two examples are much easier to remember than the “administrator approved” example. They’re also much easier to crack, but what the administrator may not realize is that the complex password is only minimally more difficult to crack.

The letters in the typical password are likely to be either forming a common word, a person’s name, or something easy to type (keyboard proximity bias).

This knowledge means about 75 percent or more of most passwords are extremely easy to crack because cracking algorithms can be programmed to try the simplest combinations first, before moving on to brute force methods. A user with the password Jenny-23 may as well not bother having a password at all.

Even worse, many administrators limit the password length to between 6 and 8 characters in a forlorn attempt to prevent users from forgetting their complex passwords.

This is hopeless because modern computers can make slightly under 600,000 guesses per second, so with a decent botnet at our disposal, any 8 character password can be cracked in less than half a day unless you allow extended characters (UTF8 or UTF16), which most systems do not allow. If we instruct our cracking program to use the GPU instead of the CPU for cracking, it will get the job done about 100 times faster.

A sensible modern password policy does not call for complexity but length. Therefore the best password policy calls for at least 12 and preferably 15+ characters, composed in a way that is meaningful and memorable to the user.

The phrase:

Icouldjustfancysomecheese,Gromit!

Is a far more secure password than:

r&E6qwGg

It’s also going to create fewer security problems than:

r&E6qwGggGwq6E&rs*F7rxHhhHxr7

The simple, plain English password is better because it is long enough and complex enough to be difficult to crack (several lifetimes, even with the most powerful computers on Earth) and it’s unlikely to be forgotten. If the user knows a foreign language, that can push the guessing difficulty up even higher, for example:

Podriagustarmeunpocodequeso,Gromit!

Such moves will even defeat social engineering that could improve the chances of guessing a password based on a user’s personality.

User permissions are even easier to handle. Each user should only have permissions up to the limit of their area of responsibility. By creating Group Policies in the operating system, you can easily group users according to their roles, and set appropriate permissions automatically by assigning users to the correct group.

Physical security at the data centre

The importance of physical security is often ignored, because people don’t believe an attacker would have the audacity to attempt to circumvent security in person.

If you are included in the group of non-believers, then you also won’t believe that your own employees are the biggest threat to the security of your IT systems, but indeed they are.

Internal threats are a serious and growing problem, along with corporate espionage and sabotage. Physical security is important, and you can implement it easily.

Workstations can have unnecessary ports disabled, optical drives disabled or removed, and the computer case locked and physically secured to the work area so it can’t be carried away.

At the software level, drives can be encrypted, and of course data should always be backed up to at least three separate secure physical locations.

Server rooms should be securely locked and only accessible by authorized IT staff. Access to the server rooms should be logged electronically, and the servers themselves should be under direct CCTV surveillance so that suspicious access can be noticed.

Access and change histories

Keeping logs of “who does what” on your system can be helpful in many ways. This will help you recover more quickly from some types of malicious activities, and makes it easier to roll back to a point where the system was free of trouble.

Being able to isolate which individuals had access at certain times and what actions they performed can provide evidence in subsequent investigations.

LinkSafe is inherently secure

We designed LinkSafe with a lot of built-in security features to make it easy to administrate. Even so, taking sensible precautions is a good idea, because you can never be too careful when it comes to IT security.

To find out more about how LinkSafe can be an asset to your business, get in touch with a member of our team today.

To find out more about how LinkSafe can be an asset to yness, get in touch with a LinkSafe consultant today.

Incident management: How to train your staff to deal with incidents

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No matter what industry you’re in, there will come a time where your staff will come face-to-face with a challenging incident. Whether it’s a workplace injury, a serious safety hazard like a fire or flood, or a threat or assault, your employees and contractors need to have the training to properly handle any incidents they might face while on the job.

The type of incident your team is likely to face will vary depending on your industry, but here are a few general guidelines on how to train your staff to deal with incidents so they feel prepared to handle anything that happens on the job calmly and correctly: Read More

Best practices for volunteer induction & training: how to make the process easier and more efficient

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If your company utilizes volunteers, the volunteer induction and training process is crucial. It’s an opportunity for you to connect with your volunteers, get them on board with your organization and mission, and ensure they have everything they need to be successful in their roles.

A positive induction and training process that’s fun, organized, and educational will get your volunteers excited and committed to your project, while a boring, disorganized, or uninformative process can lead to volunteers leaving your program in droves.

But how do you create a positive volunteer induction and training process? What is the best practice for training your volunteers in a way that gets them excited to partner with you? Read More

Get With It – Modern Safety Training Challenges & Solutions

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Every company strives to provide a safe working environment for their employees. After all, the least that employees should expect when they clock in for work is to conduct their duties in a safe environment.

To ensure effective hazard management and regulatory compliance, safety training sessions form a key part of company safety initiatives. Providing employees with the knowledge and tools to carry out their work in a safe manner is imperative to promoting a positive safety culture. However, sometimes safety training doesn’t go all that smoothly and can fall flat with contributing to your safety goals.

The world of work is consistently evolving, and so too does your safety training procedures and formats. Following the same legacy safety training processes that you have done for the last decade simply won’t cut it. Your safety training sessions need to be consistently revisited. In today’s modern world, there are more challenges than ever to overcome to design and deliver effective safety training.

Workplace Diversity

Across the workplace will be workers from various backgrounds. Some will be more educated than others, some may not speak English as their first language, some may struggle with accents and dialects, others will have differing religious and spiritual beliefs, some will have families. Safety training needs to consider all of these various aspects.

Holding training sessions after work or at the weekends might seem like a great idea, but will be a huge struggle for those with families. If you have to hold your training sessions outside working hours, make the content available remotely so that if workers with families cannot attend they can still access the content and materials.

It’s also important to ensure that training materials are available in the first language of all employees and that a translator is hired if needed for live safety training sessions. This prevents any miscommunication or misunderstanding of critical safety issues and ensures all workers can contribute to the sessions.

Not all workers will be WHS savvy and some may struggle with terminology. All safety content should be delivered using “layman’s terms” to cater for the needs of all workers. Complimenting text with graphic depictions of safety procedures can prove helpful here too.

Ever Changing Regulations

All safety training materials and sessions need to be in line with current regulations. Dated materials are a key contributor to compliance issues as workers are misinformed as to the legislation they should be following. As painful as it seems, the best practice is to conduct training sessions and update training materials ahead of the introduction of new regulations.

As soon as regulatory changes are announced, it’s time to take action and get updates to safety training materials scheduled in and training sessions pencilled into everyone’s diary. This prevents any panic with compliance once the regulation is introduced as everyone will be fully prepared.

Different Software Tools for Different Processes

Safety training is difficult if you are using several different software tools and systems for the various safety management and compliance tasks in the workplace. Keeping up to date with features and functionality across all the different tools can prove a nightmare and make delivering safety training sessions incredibly difficult.

This is why the use of integrated safety management software tools like LinkSafe helps ensure more effective safety training delivery. Using just one suite of tools from one provider, training is much more streamlined. In fact, LinkSafe’s own team can assist you with training sessions. Too many cooks spoil the broth so just stick with one suite of safety tools.

Don’t let the challenges of modern safety training deter you from your efforts. Take our tips on board and talk to our expert team if you need further advice. You’ll soon be able to design safety training materials and deliver sessions which fully deliver on your company’s safety needs.