October is Safe Work Month and is an important time for businesses to review their Workplace Health and Safety procedures and processes and to reflect on the safety of their staff and workplaces.
Whatever the industry or workplace, every organisation can join Safe Work Month and take steps to keep people safe and healthy at work, including:
- Being informed: Staying up to date with the laws, rules and regulations that apply and create the duties and responsibilities of employers, employees and contractors. It is vital that both employers and employees take steps to stay informed and up to date;
- Auditing Hazards and Risks and implementing risk/hazard mitigation strategies: Identifying hazards and risks is a key step for both employers and employees and involves finding thing or situations that may cause harm. Once a hazard or risk is identified, it is imperative that steps be taken to minimise or remove the risk or hazard. Risk and hazard assessments should be conducted regularly;
- Training and consultation: Employers and employees must all work together to ensure the safety and wellbeing of others and the workplace. It is vital that staff be trained and consulted with every step of the way and includes being involved when identifying hazards and assessing the risks that the work or workplace present and when proposing changes to the workplace which may affect WHS; and
- Being prepared for emergencies: Employers need to have plans and processes in place to appropriately respond to emergencies, injuries and incidents in the workplace. This includes (but is not limited to) having staff trained in fire and emergency management, having procedures in place for incident/injury reporting and return to work management;
- Keeping staff wellbeing front of mind: Employers and employees need to remember that safe workplaces isn’t just about injuries and incidents, it also includes staff health and wellbeing. It is important to remember that everyone’s physical and psychological wellbeing should also be a priority.
There are a wide range of free resources available through WorkSafe Queensland and Safe Work Australia and at Enterprise Legal, we have a dedicated Workplace Relations team that is here to assist and keep your workplace safe and informed.
If you would like to discuss how we can assist you with your Workplace Health and Safety obligations, contact EL's Principal Workplace Relations Advisor Amie Mish-Wills: