Tips for simplifying safety in your workplace

October is Safe Work Month so I’m going to ask you a VERY important question!

How committed are you REALLY to providing a safe workplace for your team members?

Is WHS just a tick and flick to you?

Every October Safe Work Australia focus on Safe Work Month and have a raft of initiatives and resources for business. So this month my posts are going to focus on what’s most important right now in this space.

So here’s my first tip

No evidence = no commitment

Having evidence of your commitment to safety in the workplace is actually the key to ensuring a safe workplace?

Regardless of how committed you think you are to providing your workers with a safe workplace, if someone sustains an injury, physical or psychological, whilst working for you, and an investigation in to your compliance with the legislation is conducted by WorkCover, of God forbid, the Police, I’m not too sure which would be scarier, and there’s no clear evidence of you demonstrating your commitment, then you’re going to find yourself in some very hot water.

And now more than ever, is the time to shout about your commitment to safety in your workplace. Make sure all your team members know you’re committed.

Every October Safe Work Australia focus on Safe Work Month and have a raft of initiatives and resources for business. So this month my posts are going to focus on what’s most important right now in this space.

So let me get back to today’s point – Have evidence.

And one way to make a judgement call on whether you have enough evidence of your commitment to safety is to ask yourself some key questions

How would your staff answer these questions?

Let’s say a WorkCover inspector came in tomorrow. Let’s say they asked some of your employees the following questions:

HR Tactics HR Consultant Brisbane Tips for simplifying safety in your workplace
  • Whether the owner of the business, or management, regularly talk about safety to everyone?
  • Do you receive regular WHS training, like when you started you had a WHS induction, you have annual refresher training, fire evacuation training and that sort of thing?
  • Is there a clearly defined incident and injury reporting process that everyone knows and follows every time here?
  • Can you show me where your WHS Policy is?
  • Are safety inspections conducted regularly here?

Would all those questions be answered by all your employees with a resounding “Yes”?

My hope for you is that they would be because those are only some of your very basic employer obligations.

So if you’re concerned they may not say yes to all these questions, then you’re definitely not demonstrating anywhere near enough commitment to your employees that safety is front of mind for you, and you need to start shouting (metaphorically of course) about safety much much much more there.

3 Actions to Take Now

So, here are 3 actions you can take now, that are going to help you make your commitment to safety much more obvious to your workers and give you some big compliance ticks because they’ll:

  • Be obvious to your employees,
  • They’ll start having an impact on safety in your business immediately, and
  • They’ll start building that all important safety culture there in your workplace.

What to do:

  1. Request all staff change their desktop wallpaper to the Safe Work Month wallpaper for the month of October
  2. Place the A4 Safe Work Month Poster up in your workplace
  3. Change your email signature to include the Safe Work Month image

How:

  1. Google “HR Tactics Covid ready” and it will bring up our Covid-19 Workplace Ready Kit
  2. Download the Desktop Wallpaper and email signature and request your staff load them for October
  3. Print and place the poster in prominent place/s in your workplace

These 3 things are only small and it’s only for a month, but they’re designed to put safety front of mind for everyone by making sure as they move around the workplace they see the posters, as they read emails from colleagues they see the images and when they login and out of their computers, they see the safety messages as their desktop wallpaper.


4 Simple Steps to Covid Safety in the Workplace

Have you noticed complacency around Covid safety creeping in?

Sadly, over the last couple of week, on 2 separate occasions I’ve heard shop owners tell customers to not bother about signing in would you believe. There goes the integrity of our contact tracing processes…

So as part of October being Safe Work Month across Australia, I want to go right back to basics and walk you through the 4 simple steps involved in assessing the risks in your business in the hope that it will prompt those of you who may need a bit of prompting, to spark up your diligence around COVID safety and remain vigilant.

Due to Corona virus, your workplace is possibly (and hopefully) the safest and healthiest it has possibly ever been! And I know that has not just happened by chance or guesswork. We’ve all had to put in a lot of hard work and long hours thinking about what could go wrong at our workplaces and what the consequences could be.

As it’s National Safe Work Month, it’s timely to remind you that as a business owner, the buck stops with you. And yes that also applies when you have contractors. You hold the risk if and when things go wrong and if they do, the price you pay is not only going to be financial. 

So my next tip is:

Remember, the buck stops with you!

So here are the 4 simple steps you need to follow to conduct a risk assessment in your business. And these 4 steps haven’t changed from what they were prior to Corona virus. Under WHS legislation, this is the process all business owners have always been required to follow by law.

4 simple steps to conducting a risk assessment in your business

STEP 1 Identify hazards — find out what could cause harm. A great way to do this is by working through our COVIDSafe Consultation Tool for Workplaces.  It’s free and it’s on our website. It’s one of the free resources we’ve developed and made available months ago in our COVID-19 Workplace Ready Toolkit. Just type “hrtactics covid ready” into Google and our COVID-19 Workplace Ready Toolkit will come up. Don’t forget here that workplaces have faced new work health and safety (WHS) risks associated with isolated work, mental health, working from home, managing staff and workloads remotely, and the ongoing risk management of exposure to COVID-19.

STEP 2 – Assess risks — 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.

STEP 3 – Control risks – you must do whatever you can (in other words, whatever is ‘reasonably practicable’) to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks arising in your business. Again, check out the free resources in our COVID-19 Workplace Ready Toolkit. Just type “hrtactics covid” into Google and it will come up. There are some posters there amongst other things that you’ll find useful.

STEP 4 – Review hazards and control measures to ensure they are working as planned and remain effective over time. 

My final key tip here – Consultation with workers and any health and safety representatives in your business is actually a legal requirement at each of these 4 steps. The reason that’s the case is that by drawing on the experience, knowledge and ideas of your workers, you are more likely to identify all the hazards and choose effective control measures.

So gather up 2 or more staff and talk through these 4 steps and document what you come up with. Document what you decide. To do this you can use the example risk register on the Safe Work Australia website if you don’t have your own Risk Register. I’ll put the direct link in the transcript of this video but you can also find it by just googling “template and example covid 19 risk register”

When must I undertake a COVID-19 risk assessment in my business?

Where your business:

  • Changes work practices, procedures or the work environment 
  • Recommences operations following a shut down 
  • Increases operations following a period of reduced operations 
  • Introduces workers back into the workplace following the cessation of working from home or stand-down arrangements 
  • Is responding to workplace incidents (e.g. where a worker has tested positive to COVID-19) 
  • Is responding to concerns raised by workers, health and safety representatives, or others at the workplace 

Managing work health and safety risks is an ongoing process that needs ongoing attention over time, but particularly when any changes above affect your work activities. 

So stay safe everyone and contact us at HR Tactics for any assistance or answers you need in the area of safety. We’re here to help.

HR Tactics – HR Consultants Brisbane – Outsourced HR

This information was provided with the intention of helping you find more clarity, confidence and peace of mind as you navigate your own journey as an employer. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, and if you think someone else would enjoy it please feel free to share it on.


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About The Author
Jackie Strachan

Jackie Strachan

Jackie’s passion for creating better Human Resources outcomes stems from over 20 years’ experience in the field and a drive for finding innovative solutions.
Her HR career has seen her hold both operational and strategic HR management roles across a vast array of industry sectors including retail, financial services, child protection, professional services, dental, state emergency services, Department of Justice, agency recruitment and IT.
Combining her experience in each specialised area of Human Resources (such as learning & development, recruitment, WHS and employee relations etc), Jackie leads HR Tactics with an industry-respected foundation of knowledge.