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How to make workplace safety a priority?

How to make workplace safety a priority?

Its easy to say safety is everyone’s responsibility but the reality is everyone looks up to the top. So it starts with the CEO, or the Managing Director or perhaps the owner. If the senior people don’t believe safety is a priority that attitude will emulate throughout the entire workforce.

There are 3 principle things to remember.

  • Good safety makes for good economics
  • Good safety increase productivity
  • Good safety is a legal requirement

Working from the top down. Good safety makes for good economics. Simple really, if you have robust policies, implement and monitor there influences you will find certain things happening. Less downtime for minor injuries.

For example, a worker burns himself while making a cup of tea during his scheduled break. The incident happens in your lunchroom. The first aider needs to stop serving a customer to attend to the burn victim. Some burn cream is applied, and the wound is dressed. The consequences of this are:
1. The customer couldn’t wait – lost the customer
2.The first aider spent 25 minutes helping the victim
3.The injured persons spent 25 minutes been attended to for a minor injury.
4. Injury has occurred, an incident report has to be recorded. 40 mins.

Total lost –

  • 90 min employees time
  • 1 potential customer (who is bound to share the bad news story so potentially more customers.

This is a very common scenario. Some might say unavoidable accident. Others would argue all accidents are avoidable. Regardless 90 min of lost time has an impact. The lose of potential customers is major.
If you escalate this to a 3 cm blade wound while unpacking a box, now we have the first aider attending to the injured person for the same period of time in the shop prior to transporting the person to hospital for 5 sutures. Hospitals are a busy place and your employee is of a lower priority. The first aider waits with the injured person for 4 hours. The equation is a little different now
1. The customer couldn’t wait – lost the customer
2. The first aider spent 4 hour 25 minutes helping the victim
3. The injured persons spent 4 hours 25 minutes been attended to for an injury.
4. The injured person had the following day off on worker compensation (8 hours)
5. Injury has occurred, a incident report has to be recorded. 40 mins

Total lost –

  • 17 hours 30 min employees time
  • 1 potential customer (who is bound to share the bad news story so potentially more customers.
  • A claim against workers compensation for the hospital attendance and lost time.
  • This will have a lasting effect as every claim influences the following year Workers Compensation Premium.

Increased Productivity

Studies show that employees that feel that have a buy in or can contribute to the wellbeing of their workplace perform better than those who don’t. Workers who have a sense of belonging want to achieve more for their manager.

Good safety is a legal requirement

The Model WHS Act and Model WHS Regulations clearly lay out the requirements and penalties for breaches. These include large monetary fines and in some cases custodial sentences for individual. If there is a death caused by negligence, incompetence or failure to protect the stakes are even higher. Companies closures, family breakups and if you were even remotely implicated, it’s something you’ll never forget.