Nothing is more important than having a safe workplace. Whether you work on a construction site, or in a big office building, there are always hazards. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to keep your employees safe at work. Keeping up to date OH&S procedures will not only minimise the risk of injuries, it will also increase productivity, and keep your team happy. On top of these benefits, you must meet your legal obligations – so making sure you stay well informed of what these are in your particular workplace, is always time well spent. Here are a few tips which will help to ensure a safe work environment for everyone:
It all starts with getting the right information across to all of your employees. If they don’t know what the relevant safety procedures are – they will never be able to act on them. Make sure you provide training whenever a new employee starts, and make them aware of any risks that they might be exposed to in the workplace. Having clear and informative signs, visible in the workspace, will help employees to remember and implement some of the important safety measures you have put in place.
As well as making sure your employees are well informed when it comes to OH&S, you should ensure they have access to the right equipment to stay safe in the workplace. Depending on the type of workplace, various kinds of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) may be obligatory, so be sure you know what is necessary at your workplace, and that employees are provided with all required PPE. Examples of PPE include safety shoes, safety goggles or glasses, hard hats, high visibility clothing, ear plugs and sunscreen.
If you are an employer, you must ensure that first aid arrangements are taken care of. What arrangements you actually need to have in place will depend on the work environment, and will be related to any potential hazards on the worksite. All workplaces should give their workers access to first aid equipment and facilities, as well as trained first aiders. How many first aiders you have, and whether or not you have a first aid room, depends on how many employees you have, and whether the environment is high-risk or not. On a construction site, for example, one first aider per 25 workers is recommended. (https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/first-aid)
We can be as careful as we want, but there are times when things can, and do, go wrong. This is why all types of work environments need to have an action plan, for when accidents do occur. These procedures will help your staff in knowing what they need to do, who they need to contact, and where they need to go, during various workplace incidents. Things that should be included in your plan will be evacuation methods, communication guidelines, and first responses required for different situations, as well as identifying key safety personnel and listing emergency phone numbers.
In Queensland, young workers make up about 18 percent of the workforce, and are often over-represented in injury statistics. Their increased hazard risk may be related to a lack of experience, which lessens their ability to determine if something is risky or dangerous. Young workers, new to the job often won’t ask you if something safe, and often don’t express or raise their concerns about safety issues. Ensuring good training for all your staff, and maintaining an open and relaxed work environment where open communication is valued, is necessary for keeping your younger employees safe.