Injuries and accidents in the workplace can cost time, money and reputation. With the right WHS policies in place, it is easy to prevent injuries, file injury reports quickly and efficiently and issue safe work permits. Learn how you can set up a system to implement and monitor your WHS policies which will save you hassle and headaches on a large scale.
Work related accidents, illnesses and injuries lead to the following:
Or there could be other serious repercussions. There are plenty of things that can go wrong in your workplace. Additionally, legislation requirements within WHS in Australia can be quite prescriptive as to how they should be managed and implemented. That’s why WHS policies are important to make sure everyone is working safely, staying healthy and working well together.
As an employer, it is important to start implementing positive safety policies. To help make things easier for you, we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to implementing and monitoring your WHS policies for your workplace. With this guide, you will get your WHS policies taken care of, before an incident occurs. The blog covers the following topics:
So, if you want to be well on the way to creating a safe, healthy working environment that will help your business do better, today’s post will make your day. Let’s get started.
One of the most fundamental parts of implementing WHS policies is informing your workers about the policies in place. This is an obligation for the “person conducting a business or undertaking” (PCBU) - generally the employer who has the primary duty of care under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act). You want your team to know about potential hazards in the workplace, and you want to ensure that their safety concerns are properly addressed. You want them to be aware of their responsibilities and obligation to ensure safety in the workplace and among themselves.
In order to reach the best solution and prevent accidents from happening in the first place, you should be vocal in communicating your views on safety. Always keep it professional and always remember to have empathy for your fellow employees whenever you engage in job safety discussions. Remember, the policies are in place to protect both the worker and anyone else who might be in the vicinity at the time of an incident.
There are several options:
Create an opportunity to generate feedback:
Your workers have rights. When they have concerns about your company's WHS policies, you need to listen. They will tell you what they feel about workplace safety. Appoint a person in a supervisor role, with responsibility for health and safety policies -this person should be asked to review safety records regularly and report anything out of regulation or suspected unsafe activity. In the end, this would help promote team spirit and encourage the impression that achieving workplace safety is a team effort.
Summary of Step 1:
There is no technological fix for the lack of adequate health and safety culture in workplaces. But collaboration among different departments, teams, and between management & workers can positively contribute to the success of your workplace health and safety policies. It is a matter of giving a small but effective boost to real-world conduct. WHS professionals have implemented various strategies -- from meetings to hands-on training sessions into on-site audits. These efforts are aiming to have a positive influence not only on individual practices, but also on organisational culture as a whole.
PCBUs must be able to work with workers to define a general safety program that is effective, technically feasible, and justifiable. Designs for health and safety plans should include education on the importance of safe working practices, proper use of machinery, and appropriate inspection techniques. They must also enable timely employee notification of hazards and implementation of new rules or procedures as needed.
The cooperation of workers in all areas related to health and safety at work is essential for a high level of protection . Workers, especially those who represent employees, are the first source of input on how to improve the effectiveness of health and safety policies. Since effective consultation and co‐operation between management and workers must be well informed, make provisions for all parties to have access to information. Management should be able to provide easily understandable data to inform consultation while workers should be provided with enough information on the company’s health and safety performance
One of the most widely used and arguably the most effective ways is holding meetings. Holding meetings every month and making sure your operations staff are aware of regulations can benefit your company. Meetings are a great way of going over issues at the time and ensuring staff are following up. Ensure to document the information shared and exchanged during meetings as minutes. This would allow you to pass on the outcome of the meeting to appropriate quarters for actions and also provide future reference.
PCBUs should also develop strategies that include worker participation, such as worker health and safety committees (WHSCs). WHSCs can provide guidance for safe behaviors that can help reduce workplace accidents and fatalities. Encourage worker participation in identifying hazards, safer ways of working, improving compliance with WHS regulations, raising awareness about hazards, reporting unsafe conditions, gaining internal support.
When developing participation arrangements with employees, keep the following in mind:
It all adds up to the benefits
Implementing collaborations to manage WHS would yield lots of benefits. This includes but is not limited to: improved efficiency of workplace operations, build reliable trust-based workplace relationships, boosts workers’ morale, encourages respect between workers and between workers and management, stress reduction and improvement of job satisfaction rates.
Summary of Step 2
Workplace accidents and injuries have been happening for years in businesses around Australia. Employees have been hurt, some severely, as a result of these accidents leaving them with long-term or life-changing injuries, trauma and loss of work life. Some employees even die as a result of workplace accidents. The good news is that, in many instances, it can be prevented through effective WHS training programs.
WHS Training should be designed and developed to assist workers in controlling risks and hazards to minimise workplace injuries and illnesses. Tailor the modules to your business and organisation’s needs and include the provision of foundational WHS knowledge as well as specific modules to address unique conditions if any.
This is to discover areas where your workers are lacking in capacity as a WHS policy implementation and monitoring tool. TNA identifies the gap between required skills and knowledge level of workers and their current capacity to perform their work related duties and tasks. Use the following tools in carrying out a TNA:
Following TNA, it is now time to develop a WHS training program using results obtained from your analysis.A strong WHS training program will not only provide your workers with skills to handle their tasks, it will also allow them to monitor the procedures that are going on and be able to report back to management if anything is out of the ordinary.
Some interesting things to consider when developing a training program:
The training is designed to enhance a new staff understanding, awareness and skills to make them better equipped to deal with hazards that may arise in your workplace. Additionally, when companies introduce a new concept or system into the workplace, there must be induction training, or affirmations, for workers to understand the new rules.
WHS induction training is one of the ways to make information readily understood to employees. Mixing technology with traditional forms of training can create confusion in an organisation, and workers should be given clear information before introducing new methods of employment.
Workers no matter their experience need to have their skills regularly updated in addition to professional development courses required to keep them up to date with current industry best practices and standards which would allow them acquire new skills and knowledge that would be beneficial to your organisation's WHS policies. So, provide workplace learning opportunities and mentorship schemes to assist individuals and teams on an ongoing basis.
Determine whether the WHS training program implemented is appropriate and effective in meeting training objectives Compare outcomes of training against specific areas such as level of absenteeism, rate of accidents.incidents/near misses etc., to have a fairly accurate evaluation. Also evaluate training programs for cost.
Who should be trained?
Methods of providing training to workers
There are several popular methods you can employ to provide training to workers: face-to-face, video conferences, laptop/online courses, catalogs of resources related to training and self-paced online courses. If you don’t have the resources to provide training then you can go through a third-party provider.
Summary of Step 3
One of the most important aspects of preventing employee accidents and injuries as well as technology failures that can cause serious negative impact to your organisation is hazard identification. Hazards can be anything from an employee failing to follow instructions to a product being out of spec.
The process of Hazard Identification is a process that is implemented at the facility. It’s the systematic method of identifying hazardous tasks, working practices, or products that may have an adverse effect on employee health and well-being. Above all, hazards in your workplace should be identified and reported according to WHS policies and procedures, and WHS legislative and regulatory requirements.
Here are some procedures you should implement to help you identify hazards:
Hazard risk assessment
Hazard risk assessment basically determines the probability that a bad or unexpected consequence is likely to occur. It gives an overall assessment of the probability that an event will happen and the severity of that event.
Using a risk assessment matrix, assess risk: A risk assessment matrix can be used to determine risk factors for a particular activity or business, and will give you a numerical grade like 1-5 to represent how likely it is that your activity or business will result in harm.
Risk control is the activity of assessing and reducing risk to your business, organisation and individuals. It is a process that can be achieved through various means including planning, organisation, training, awareness and a range of other strategies that all address risk as one of the primary factors that an organisation should focus on when looking at how they operate in the world.
Strategies for Risk Control
Review and Evaluation
Once risk control has been implemented, it is evaluated to make sure the control is effective or its introduction has not caused a new hazard. The evaluation procedure will need to include data inputs from workers, workers’ representatives, and management.
The following should be evaluated:
Following a review, document finding for reporting and improvements.
When it comes to ensuring workplace health and safety at a company, there needs to be a system in place for maintenance and updating records. This ensures that the records are kept up-to-date on a continuous basis according to WHS policies. Good records are the key to preventing major accidents and safety hazards. Records are essential to all workplaces, from the simplest of premises right through to large mining sites.
Businesses need to be able to prove that they've taken all reasonable steps to ensure worker safety, as required by modern Workplace Health and Safety legislation. Maintaining WHS compliant records is not a one-off exercise but requires commitment to an ongoing program of record maintenance for compliance and liability reasons. Records can be kept electronically, or, hand-writing - and in an easy to update, access, and retrieve format/system.
Most workplaces are not hazard free, and it is generally agreed that regular safety goes hand in hand with good Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) practice. One thing that can be agreed on is that implementing a WHS Policy is not easy. A lot of it depends on the business’ size and what their management team wants to achieve. PCBUs already have a lot on their plate and keeping control of all your different aspects of running a business can be a challenge. The result without help is a mishmash that damages productivity and causes frustration.
Kiri Align is a WHS management solution that streamlines the implementation and monitoring of your business’s Workplace Health and Safety policies, procedures, standards and guidelines from one source. You can now manage all your business’s WHS in one simple, easy-to-use software.
The software allows you to document your existing policy requirements, implement those policies across your organisation, and then monitor compliance. Additional features such as a secure online meeting portal, access to legal backup knowledge, training modules, role-based access control and reporting make the whole process clear and simple. With Kiri Align, implementing a good WHS policy is realistic; it is not impossible, and it will benefit you in many ways – especially the bottom line.
In the past, it was difficult to make an impact on workplace health and safety because there were too many employees or contractors involved with the process. The advent of better communication and decision making technologies over the past few years, has made these processes much easier to monitor and manage. Thanks to products like Kiri Align, organisations are now able to create a centralised system to implement and monitor collaborations across multiple levels for a wide range of safety topics.