Workplace Safety for Small Businesses
Workplace Safety For Small Businesses
Did you know that small businesses make up more than 95% of the businesses in Australia? This also means that they are responsible for the health and safety of around 4.8 million Australian employees. But why do these numbers matter? Because a report by Safe Work Australia found that 25% of employers didn’t feel they allowed staff to be empowered with their health and safety policies and even that they didn’t always treat their employees justly. How then do small businesses fix this issue?
Talking is a Good Place to Start.
I know it sounds simple, and maybe even a little patronising, but it is the obvious first step. When open, honest, and productive conversations take place you start the process of empowering staff members with their own health and safety. They become involved and invested in the process. You can even take the opportunity to discuss how to deal with health and safety issues justly within your team. All of this helps to build a positive safety culture within your organisation.
Identify Possible Hazards.
Again, this is a relatively simple solution. People who have never worked in the safety industry may find it difficult to know where to start, but there are some great resources out there to get you going. For example, Everything OHS has a full page on their website dedicated to workplace safety templates. With a little bit of adjustment, these kinds of templates can help you identify many of the possible hazards, and undoubtedly spark your imagination enough to find the hazards specific to your business or industry. The best part about Everything OHS is that it is an Australia-based company, meaning that their templates are relevant to Australian businesses. WSG also offers a free Rapid Risk Assessment Tool for lone workers, or those who are working offsite or out of the office.
Keeping records of workplace safety may sound like a tedious and pointless job, but it is one that needs to be done. Recording accidents, or near misses, gives you a better understanding of the possible risks and responsibilities of both staff and management. The more data that you have, the more likely you are to be able to see patterns emerging.
This is one of the great things about utilising modern technology for safety, it can be much easier to keep track of events. For example, if using a lone worker safety solution like the WSG app, make sure that you get a report with weekly and monthly events. Even if they are false alarms or close calls, it’s valuable information.
Monitor and Review Workplace Safety Issues.
Once you have these wonderfully well-kept records of events, it’s important to monitor them and review them. Take this as an opportunity to see what went right, not just went wrong. Try not to use it as an exercise in blame. Instead use it to reinforce how much you care about the safety of your employees. Strong workplace safety has been shown to improve worker’s engagement and loyalty to the business.
Remember: Safety is About People.
It might all seem a bit daunting, and time-consuming, and costly, to set up these procedures and make sure that they are reported and monitored regularly. But the most important thing to remember is that safety is about people. Underneath it all, you want to make sure that your staff stay happy and safe at work, that each person goes home to their families safe and whole at the end of each day. A few simple steps can improve the workplace safety for your business. What have you got to lose, other than some risks?
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