According to the ABS, over half a million Aussies are injured in work-related accidents each year.
The actual figures are likely much higher, because of the percentage of people who don’t report accidents on the job.
While the chances of getting hurt varies depending on age, location and industry, approximately 50 in a 1000 workers will experience a work injury in the next 12 months.
As a business owner, the responsibility for having a safe working environment falls on you and there are legal requirements that you have to comply with to ensure your workplace meets Workplace Health and Safety (WH&S) obligations: And it’s not just employees you need to protect, it’s also customers, visitors, contractors, volunteers and suppliers.
Apart from meeting obligations, having solid WH&S procedures in place can help:
- Retain staff,
- maximise employee productivity,
- minimise injury and illness in the workplace and
- reduce the costs of injury and workers’ compensation.
There’s lots of essential information online about what you need to do as a business owner (and an employee) to keep yourselves and others safe at work.
Prevention is key and the Australian Government strongly advises that employers should try and go above and beyond requirements to keep staff safe.
Here are 5 things you can do to improve your WH&S standards:
If you know where the potential risks are in your business, then you can more easily avoid them. Risk management is crucial for WH&S.
Apply these four steps to reduce risk.
- Identifying hazards—find out what could cause harm.
- Assessing risks (if necessary)—understand the nature of the harm that could be caused by the hazard, how serious the harm could be and the likelihood of it happening.
- Controlling risks—implement the most effective control measure that is reasonably practicable in the circumstances.
- Reviewing control measures—ensure control measures are working as planned.
Read more about risk management at Safe Work Australia.
Have an emergency plan
An emergency plan is a written set of instructions that outlines what workers and others at the workplace should do in an emergency.
It needs to cover:
- Emergency procedures, including an effective response to an emergency.
- Evacuation procedures.
- Notifying emergency service organisations at the earliest opportunity.
- Medical treatment and assistance.
- Effective communication between the person authorised to coordinate the emergency response and all people at the workplace.
- Testing of the emergency procedures—including the frequency of testing.
- Information, training and instruction to relevant workers in relation to implementing the emergency procedures.
Encourage staff to, discuss report and document near misses or slight injuries, so that new or overlooked hazards can be part of your risk management.
Serious injuries have to be notified immediately. Find out more about what to do if this happens here.
Have first aid on hand
The first aid you need to have will depend on the type of business you do. Keep first aid kits close to areas where there is a higher risk of injury or illness, as well as inside work vehicles if workers are expected to travel as part of their job. If there can be someone in your business who’s trained in first aid then all the better.
Take care while manual handling
Injuries while lifting or moving goods or equipment top the stats for workplace accidents.
Over 43.5K incidents were recorded in 2014-2015 alone.
Again, assessment of risk and prevention should be the focus.