Monday, April 22, 2019

Work Health and Safety and Why it’s Important?


This month we wanted to focus a little on you, yes that’s right you are important and so is everyone in the workplace. Whether you are a volunteer, part time or full-time employee, safety is the key. What we know from the statistics is not enough people know, understand or take the WHS aspect of their job seriously and this leads to incidents, accidents and even in some case fatalities. 


The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the WHS Act) provides a framework to protect the health,  safety, environment and welfare of all of us while we are at work. This includes and not limited to employees, subcontractors, apprentices and trainees, volunteers, visitors, employers and the general public so they don’t become harmed while we are doing our work activities.


Workplace injuries can have a major impact on family, friends and of course the business itself, whether it's due to lower staff morale, reduced productivity, lost sales, or even closure.

Our employers must create policies and procedures for us to follow while we are working or visiting another Business. These policies and procedures are there to educate you on potential hazards in your work environment and will assist in proper workplace practices and behaviour to prevent work place injuries, illness, contamination and fatalities. 


While workplaces injuries are on the decline there are still far too many injuries, near misses and deaths. SafeWork Australia provided statistics on worker fatalities and it shows that in 2016, 53 workers were killed in New South Wales, 45 in Queensland, 31 in Victoria and 20 in Western Australia. Those numbers don't even address the workers who sustain injuries and those that don’t report. This is far too many people … we need to wake up and we need to start believing Zero Harm is achievable and continuously strive to reach this goal every day.


We all know that employers have a responsibility to keep us safe, however it is not just on them, you as an employee also have a duty of care to take care of yourself and of others who may be affected by what they do or do not do. 


“keeping others safe means, they too go home to their family”


How can we reduce the amount of workplace accidents? 


How can we prepare staff to contribute to making our work environments safer?  

 

 

Here a few tips that you can easily implement in the workplace


 Education


Simply telling your team is certainly not enough, the most valuable step is to educate and train your team. It is important to ensure competency has been be tested. It is not good enough just to accept your team members assurance that they are experienced and competent no matter how old they are or how long you have had them employed.

It really can be as simply as teaching and educating your team on common safety mistakes, for example: lifting quickly, skipping breaks, ignoring near misses and not reporting them, working too many hours (overtime) etc…

If you are an employee and you are not confident in the task that has been given to you speak up   and talk to someone. One small conversation could save your life and/or your colleagues.

Don’t cut corners


Practice what you preach, don’t encourage or take short cuts so you can make a deadline sooner. We have all been in a situation or heard of someone that has been there, for example  missing a pre start check because of time constraints , putting no safety rail up because you forgot to book it in and the builder has demanded it gets done today because another trade is booked in tomorrow! Many shortcuts reduce the overall safety, or cause risk to the team member who is taking them. It is extremely important to focus on making sure everyone is taking the right safety precautions by following policy and procedures, they are there for a reason. 


“Cutting corners cost lives”.

Consultation


Speak up make your self-known to your supervisors/ Managers and team members, talk about WHS get excited about safety! Consultation has so many benefits it can identify issues or for the better word opportunities, it can assist with decision making and can contribute to new ideas. Include the team in talks, give them the opportunity to share their thoughts .



This will increase productivity, morale, it will help them make better and more informed decision making and successful implementation of ideas.  It will also assist the team to cope with change and be less likely to resist and be more accountable.


Ongoing Training


I had touched on this topic before when I was discussing “education”. 

When hiring someone, the company typically provides the new member with an induction that will include all the training that a new employee will need to do their job safely and effectively. In some cases, however, that is all they will teach them. This is one of the most dangerous habits that a company could do, because it exposes the individual, and the entire workplace to danger.

It is paramount to provide high quality safety training to all team members when they are hired, and then continue to give refresher courses / updates / performance reviews on a regular basis. Simple refresher classes or courses will assist your team in staying motivated, focused and provide the confidence in what they do. Complacency is a real thing, people become familiar with their job and make mistakes. Keep it Fresh!!

Provide appropriate equipment


All company’s must be equipped for their teams to do their job. Equipment/PPE may vary from safety harnesses to proper gloves, goggles or desk chair. Under no circumstances should employees perform their duties /task without the proper equipment.

Did you know if you work in an office have the workstation set up ergonomically for your needs it reduces the risk of back pain, neck soreness and wrist strain. You can contact ergonomic consultants that will come out to your office and assess your station to ensure it is correctly set up for your specific needs / task.


If you are unsure about what your needs are, talk with a consultant or industry expert PPE is key.

Keep up to date - Subscribe


Subscribing to specific WHS sites will benefit you and the workplace it will alert you on emerging trends and help you keep safety in the fore front of your mind. Be proactive with your personal development ensure that you are up to par with regards to local regulations and standards. Subscribing to industry relevant websites or Safe work Australia, Training company’s websites or Worksafe you can be confident that you have all the information and resources you need at your fingertips to provide for a safe working environment. Safe work



Safety signs


You might think the more signs up in the workplace the better? Wrong ... too many signs can be hazardous to you and your team. Have you ever often thought I didn’t see that sign, and you have literally walked passed it or it could be just staring at you and you still don’t see it? It happens to me all the time some sites, factories are too overzealous. Your brain can only take in a certain amount of information before it eventually becomes a blur.

Safety signs are important they are extremely effective when used in the right area / location. A simple and clear sign warn people of hazards and risks. They may also outline measures your workers should take to minimise risks to their safety. Signs are also an effective way to overcome language or literacy barriers. 
  • Have you ever heard less is more?
  • Health and safety laws specify that some signage is mandatory!
  • But should you be using more? 
  • What is your workplace like?

Repetitive task


You may not realise how a Repetitive task can be dangerous. It is more dangerous than you think. Look at a simple task like typing, it can be strenuous on your body and mind.


Repetitive tasks will cause Occupational overuse syndrome (OOS) which is another name for repetitive strain injury or RSI. It can affect your back, shoulders, arms, elbows, fingers, wrists and other joints and muscles. The common symptoms include:

  • Uncomfortable aches
  • Weak muscles
  • Restricted joint mobility
  • Swelling
  • Numbness
Any manual task that requires fast and repetitive movements or working in immovable or awkward postures for long periods of time can trigger OOS. Just to name a few trades hairdressers, musicians, bricklayers, carpenters, can experience OOS.
Repetitive tasks will take its toll it can cause loss of attention, increase stress, trigger depression, and decrease the overall satisfaction levels. 


Effective training and education programs are essential for the success of an overall prevention of OOS, but so is making changes to the design of a workplace, workplace practices and using adjustable furniture.

 
There are many things that you could implement in the workplace to prevent this, have you thought about Rotating with colleagues?


Unfortunately, we can become complacent in respect to WHS and we think a lot of this is common sense, however common sense is not so common. Being part of a team and communicating with each other will save lives. Maybe some of these things that I have touch on are not so obvious to others, so make sure you share this with your team. 


Talk, help each other be a part of something bigger, safer and sustainable.


Mantra Training & Development is taking a more innovated approach and we are offering Memberships to our site so you can be more confident and have a better understanding of the legislation for your industry.


Our memberships program will offer: 

latest news in WHS
programs on offer,  
Useful Tips each month 
Videos on how to,
o   do a tool box talk?

o   complete forms,

o   implement procedures

o   Ergonomic work stations

o   Do a risk assessment and more
We will keep you posted so make sure you subscribe to our newsletter. https://www.mantratraining.com.au
 
So till next time… Just remember, Safety is no accident

Karene Peak 


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