Safety in the Workplace

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Given the amount of time we spend at work, work place health and safety is an area that is sadly overlooked by many businesses.  You are not just morally obligated to protect your employees, there are laws in place that must be followed.

Work place health and safety is all about prevention, so you must create a safe environment to not only protect your staff but also your business.  It is not that difficult to put some guidelines and procedures into place to avoid potential legal issues down the track.  Here are some tips to take on board:

Know Your Responsibilities

There are a number of government sites that outline what your responsibilities are as an employer.  There may be different obligations depending on your state or Territory and also your industry so make it your business to know what these are.  Some resources you could use are as follows:

Develop Guidelines

Once you know what your responsibilities are as an employer, you should form health and safety guidelines in conjunction with your employees and share it with them. It is a legal requirement that you discuss safety in the work place and this also ensures your staff know that their health and safety is a priority for your business.

Display the guidelines in a public place in your workplace, conduct regular training and information sessions, communicate procedures via email (consider a weekly safety tip sent to all staff to keep safety front of mind) and consider scheduling practice runs in case of an emergency.  Ensure your employees  know that they not only work in a safe environment, but also how their actions can minimise their risks and protect their fellow staff members.  All new staff should have a health and safety induction.

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Make Your Workplace  Safe

It is your legal responsibility as an employer and business owner to ensure you create a safe work place for your staff and take action to minimise any hazards that could cause stress or injury.  Each workplace will be unique so take some time to formulate preventive measures.  Consider every task your staff have to undertake and the risks involved.  You may like to look at things like tripping hazards, clear and appropriate signage for exits, fire escapes etc, bullying, falls, occupational violence, using chemicals, driving business vehicles etc.

Health and Safety Representatives

It is vital that you have at least one staff member responsible for occupational health and safety (OHS) in your workplace.  OHS is a potential legal minefield and it is important to have someone making sure that all of your current practices and procedures are relevant and up to date.  This includes being adequately insured.  All elected representatives are entitled to undertake approved training.  There is a dedicated site for them here. This person should also be responsible for keeping and updating your Register of Injuries.  This is a legal requirement of all workplaces.

To ensure you are absolutely covered for any potential lawsuit it would be prudent to discuss your health and safety risks with a professional.  Patinos Personal Lawyers are workplace accident professionals and can offer advice on how you can best protect your staff and your business.

Don’t leave the safety of your staff to chance.  Know your legal responsibilities and be proactive about keeping your staff safe.  The effect of not taking action could be devastating to your business.

Construction sign image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Woman engineer image courtesy of tiverylucky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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