It’s Safe Work Month: Let’s focus on the work environment
In Australia, October is Safe Work Month. It’s a time to place a lens on the work environment and to make some changes to reduce workplace fatalities, injuries and disease.
Nationally, the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-22 has highlighted 6 target areas where organisations can focus their efforts:
- SAFE DESIGN OF PLANT AND MACHINERY – between 2006 and 2011, 188 work-related fatalities were caused by unsafe design of plant or equipment. Regulators are targeting
suppliers of non-compliant plant and machinery.
- SUPPLY CHAINS AND NETWORKS – supply chains, contractors and networks can both positively and negatively affect on-site safety performance. The use of outsourcing creates an opportunity for business leaders to drive, model and support improved practices within the work environment.
- IMPROVED WHS AWARENESS – with a specific focus on knowledge of workplace hazards that responds to the changing nature of work and workplace hazards and risks. Research suggests younger workers may be assigned to tasks with higher exposures to hazards, highlighting the importance of equipping young workers with the skills and knowledge to protect themselves at work. This is where traditional training delivery methods come into question. Young people learn differently and have a great connection with mobile devices. Training for this cohort needs to be engaging and interactive.
- LEADERSHIP AND CULTURE – organisational cultures are strongly influenced by their internal leaders and the broader community values and attitudes. Research found that companies that accurately disclose their environmental and WHS information are considered more favorably by investors.
- RESEARCH AND EVALUATION – work-related injuries and illnesses cost the economy $60.6 billion dollars – 4.8 per cent of GDP. Mesothelioma is likely to peak in the next 10 to 15 years.
- SUPPORT BETTER MENTAL HEALTH – in 2017, Comcare has become a fully funded scheme. However, organisations fail to collect data on the impact of mental health to their business bottom line. In addition, preventative and proactive measures are in short supply and business struggles to track workers in mental health decline.
There is a wealth of support available to help organisations improve health and safety performance in their work environment at both a national and state level. Let’s make October 2017 a month to remember with a record low in workplace fatalities and injuries!
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