26 Oct 2018
Managing work health and safety (WHS) is tricky business for all organisations. WHS is of utmost importance whether your workplace is dealing in billions of dollars or just a few thousand – hazards don’t discriminate.
Work health and safety refers to the procedures in place to ensure that all staff and patrons are kept safe and healthy when in an environment under the organisation’s control. These procedures are extremely important not just from a human perspective, but also a legal and financial one.
If a workplace health and safety breach occurs, legal action is no longer the only route of compensation. Staff, customers and visitors can take to social media to air their complaints, with the potential to cause irreparable harm to business. Businesses just can’t afford to let work health and safety measures fall to the wayside.
One in five manufacturing employers may accept risk taking if the schedule is tight.
Over 60% of workers reported that they had been exposed to several disease-causing hazards in the workplace.
Every day over 200 people injure their joints, muscles or tendons at work seriously enough to require at least one week off work.
Work pressure is the leading cause of mental stress claims in the workplace, causing an average direct cost payout of $19,700.
Workers who worked more than 45 hours per week reported exposure to 60% more hazards compared to those who worked 19 hours or fewer per week.
Here’s some basic guidelines for managing and promoting health and safety in any workplace.
Any well-thought-out plan starts with consultation. Getting advice from a variety of sources allows you to fully assess the risks facing your business, highlighting potential hazards before they can cause any issues.
While it’s important to consult health and safety representatives and managers, it’s just as important to speak with staff who are on the ground day-to-day. These are the people who have direct experience with the work environment and may be able to bring hazards to your attention that you might never have noticed otherwise.
Work health and safety is all about being thorough and following the guidelines closely.
Here’s some things to check off your list when looking at health and safety in your workplace:
Identify all health and safety risks across every facet of the business -> This is the consultation phase. Speak to staff, health and safety representatives and managers to uncover all possible risks.
Assess each on its potential for breaches -> Ask: how severe is the risk? What’s being done to minimise the risk? What else can be done, and how urgently does this need to take place?
Create a systematic management plan for each risk -> Wherever possible, eliminate the risks. Is it possible to remove the hazard, or are there other ways of performing the same function without the risk? If not possible, implement safety procedures and measures to manage and prevent accidents.
Keep your plan updated -> Things move fast in the workplace. Once your procedures are in place, reassess and reconfigure on a regular basis to ensure your plan is still up to scratch.
Work health and safety is serious business. If you’re a person who excels at planning and have an eye for detail, a career in Work Health and Safety could be your perfect match.
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