Every Australian workplace can present potential hazards for the people who work there, as well as its customers and visitors. It doesn’t matter how benign a business can seem, no business is without risk of potential injury to somebody. That being said, there are some things employers and their staff can do to minimise the risk of accidents and injuries.
We’ll take a look at some trending and handy tips in this post to help prevent work-related incidents that could lead to physical harm.
#1 – Step One Is To Recognise Potential Risks
It’s going to be very hard to put any measures in place to prevent accidents if no one is even aware of the risks in the first place. While some things might be obvious – such as a piece of machinery without adequate protection surrounding its use – other things may simply be overlooked.
The employer and employees should get together and brainstorm on this so that potential risks can be highlighted and dealt with before they present a problem. No one person will be able to identify every single problem area. More heads are far better than one.
#2 – Workplace Stress Can Be a Major Problem
It’s impossible to avoid stress completely, but more workplace stress can be reduced, the more positive the outcome on several levels.
People who are overly-stressed tend to make mistakes or react to situations without thinking. This can lead to accidents occurring.
Things like heavy workloads, long working hours, discontent among employees, not fully understanding the job role and tight deadlines are all things that can lead to stress for workers.
#3 – Regular Breaks Throughout a Shift Are Necessary
Without regular breaks throughout the workday, employers and employees will become fatigued. This can also increase levels of stress, affect concentration and ultimately may lead to mistakes being made.
Regular breaks should be mandatory, and no worker should be made to work through standard breaks such as their lunch break.
#4 – Wear High-Visibility Clothing
High-visibility clothing won’t be necessary for all work environments, but in any workplace where there are vehicles and forklifts roaming around, or anything else that presents a danger, workers should all be decked out in high-visibility shirts and vests so they are more readily seen.
Other examples of protective clothing or equipment may be the use of ear muffs to prevent hearing damage, protective eyewear, masks, gloves and so on. What’s required will depend on the industry your business is in and what tasks are being performed by certain employees.
#5 – Proper Staff Training
All staff members should be fully trained in their job roles, as well as having a good understanding of Workplace Health and Safety regulations. Even seemingly simple things like knowing the right way to lift heavy objects can help to prevent injuries.
Also, use mechanical aids, tools or machinery where possible to make lighter work of any arduous or heavy tasks. For example, rather than two employees lugging a heavy object from one location to another, put it on a trolley. Make certain your workplace has everything required to make it safer for your workers.
#6 – Signage Is a Must
This could be permanent signage or temporary warning signs. A prime example of temporary signage that warns of a present hazard is a sign that indicates a wet and slippery floor. Permanent signage might serve as reminders to staff to perform certain tasks, or to switch off machinery when not in use and so on.
Even if a sign seems like it’s pointing out the obvious, everyone can forget things, so you can’t really have too much signage.
#7 – Risk and Compliance Management
You could hire a risk and compliance manager, or assign the task to a member of staff. With risk and compliance management, the person in charge will work in conjunction with everyone involved in the business to ensure risks are recognised and dealt with, and that everyone understands the importance of compliance with Workplace Health and Safety stipulations.
Risk management and WHS software can really help in this key area of business operations. The software aids in compliance management by allowing the manager to log all compliance requirements and to submit reports of any incidents that occur.
While every business is a little different, it’s important to focus on key areas that will make your workplace as safe as possible for everyone concerned.