Safe Work Australia will recognise World Day for Safety & Health at Work & Workers’ Memorial Day on Friday, 28 April 2017. It is crucial employers monitor the health of workers & workplace conditions to prevent illness or injury, & provide information & training.Read more
There is a lot of talk these days in relation to if businesses have a responsibility in identifying poor health habits in their workforce and therefore can facilitating a healthy workplace help minimise related issues. Numerous studies tell businesses that invest in the employees’ health and wellbeing will have a healthier, happier, more engaged and productive workforce. Reducing business costs of employee absences, presenteeism and injury can become a focus however there are other benefits. A Comcare report commences “Strong evidence shows that good employee health and wellbeing boosts organisational health.” Ok, sounds great yet what are signs of an unhealthy workplace and what can be done to address.
In Australia, all employers have a responsibility to prevent discrimination, harassment or bullying from occurring in the workplace and to make sure that their employees, and people who apply jobs with them, are treated fairly. Under Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation, employers and employees are required to comply with practices and behaviour that promote health and safety in the workplace. Because of this responsibility, employers are required to minimise or if possible eliminate the risks to employees’ health and safety caused by workplace bullying. Safe Work Australia has recently updated two publications on workplace bullying to provide guidance and assistance for managers and workers on how to prevent, respond and deal with this issue.
Occupational violence is an incident where a worker is physically attacked in the workplace or during work related activities. It also extends to if a worker is threatened in a way that causes them to reasonably believe they are in danger of being physically attacked. With an ageing population, ensuring aged and other care workers are able to cope with the at times aggressive behaviour associated with some types of dementia or disabilities is an important issue for care providers. Recent data shows care workers represent more than 9 percent of NSW workers compensation claims with over 12,000 physical and mental claims made in the recent 3 year period. Addressing workplace bullying and violence be challenging yet SafeWork Australia provide recommendations.
Recently SafeWork Australia released a statistical report comparing injury rates between shift workforces as compared to non-shift workers spanning a variety of different industries administered in 2013-2014. The report demonstrates the injury rate for shift workers is significantly higher (more than twice the rate) when compared to non-shift workers. The increase in incidence of injury did not span across all shift-working industries. Individuals who operate machinery and drivers had significantly lower rates of injury when compared to their shift-working counterparts in other lines of work. So what shift workers are at the greatest risk? High risk shift industries as being; manufacturing, hospitality/food services, public administration and trades/labourers.
Occupational Asthma (a new-onset asthma in which the underlying cause is exposure to an agent at work) is considered a work related illness and has led to numerous workers compensation claims in different industries over the past decade. Employers are legally responsible for informing their staff of general and specific hazards connected with their job and for providing employees with a safe and healthy workplace. Recent studies show over 40% of workers are exposed to one or more asthmagens in their workplace. According to Safe Work Australia workers in the farming, metal or wood and food preparation industries are most likely to be exposed. Businesses can take steps to minimise exposure to asthmagens in their workplace.
Irrespective of the size of your business or industry you work in, workplace risks exist. Businesses that adopt a proactive risk management approach will typically minimise workplace risks, injuries and claims. Regrettably accidents do occur and in tragic situations the death of a worker has impacts beyond the obvious. Fatalities in the workplace not only affect the immediate family, they also cause distress to colleagues, employers and friends. No worker nor their family should face the risk of not coming home from work. We promote it is essential all Australian workplaces take every precaution to ensure their employees return home safe at the end of every day. So what are Australia’s most dangerous industries and the common cause of fatalities?
Raising a workplace safety concern with your boss can sometimes seem like a daunting prospect. Not doing so, however, can mean a dangerous incident goes unresolved, potentially injuring you or your co-workers. It could be something like a machine that is missing protective guards, dangerous movement of plant, poor housekeeping presenting trip hazards or speaking up if you see someone being bullied. Alternatively you might feel your training for a particular task was inadequate or you need more help to do a job safely. Whatever the issue, it is important to remember everyone has a right to work in a fair, just and safe workplace. Employers are obligated (as far as is reasonably practicable) to provide such an environment. Read more for tips on how to talk about safety.
Every business can take some simple steps to minimise risk of injury and improve workplace safety. Although office environments can seem less vulnerable to serious injury when compared to industries such as construction, manufacturing, aged care, etc., risks exist across all industries.
Irrespective of the workplace environment steps can be taken to minimise workplace risk. Injuries and claims commonly result from workers tripping, slipping or falling. Poor manual handling activity, incorrect workstation set-up, lack of rest and exercise breaks or strains and other injuries related to posture or repetitive movement are frequent causes of workplace injury. If not addressed, these problems can affect employee productivity, morale and absenteeism rates. Employers can take 8 simple steps to help minimise workplace risks and therefore create safer workplaces for their workers.
Want some simple steps for a safer workplace?
Work safety around any types of vehicles is always important as accidents occur and the consequences can be catastrophic.
In February, NSW WorkCover issued a vehicle safety plea as a result of the 4th death since June 2012 occurring due to a vehicle accident.