National Safe Work Month: Employers must focus on correct policies as WHS advice calls increase

Published September 30, 2021 -
Safe Work Month

Workplace health and safety calls to Employsure’s advice line for business owners have more than doubled since the start of the year, with ‘risk management’ and how to minimise the risk of injury or death the main concern.

As part of National Safe Work Month, which kicks off on October 1, employers now have a real opportunity to plan, implement and showcase their best work health and safety procedures.

This year’s theme is think safe. work safe. be safe. With workplace health and safety in the spotlight more than ever thanks to COVID-19, it has never been more important for employers to feel encouraged and empowered to create more awareness around health and safety in the workplace.

“While employers should obviously focus on maintaining a safe workplace all year round, October is a month they can really stop and think of new strategies that will help increase the health and safety of staff, clients, and customers,” said Employsure senior health and safety manager Larry Drewsen.

“As of mid-September, 84 Australian workers have been killed at work in 2021, nearly half of which occurred in the transport, postal and warehousing industries. This number is unacceptably high, and more needs to be done.

“The pandemic has highlighted just how important correctly implemented infection control and health and safety policies can be to stopping the spread of sickness and maximising workplace safety. Having the correct policies in place, no matter the industry, can help prevent unnecessary death and injury, and employers have made it known to us that is what they’re aiming for.”

One big change that has occurred in many industries over the past 18 months is the shift to employees working from home. While safety in the workplace should always be at the forefront of employers’ minds, they must also remember the same health and safety standards and obligations extend to staff who work remotely.

Aside from agreeing to the hours being worked, tasks to be performed and the location, an employer must ensure, to the best of their ability, all hazards which can pose a risk of injury to workers are removed. Control measures can be identified by referring to policies the business may already have in place, such as an office safety, remote working, mental health, or drug and alcohol policy.

One thing employers can forget is ensuring workers have access to first aid. If an employee were to injure themselves, the same steps need to be taken as if they had been injured in the workplace. Details of injury and illness must be recorded, and an incident report should be submitted to their manager.

In all situations, workers must act in accordance with their organisation’s relevant emergency procedures, know where their emergency exits are, and ensure their own safety at all times. Again, an incident and hazard report will need to be completed in such an event.

“We’ve seen a huge societal shift as a result of COVID-19, and new hazards in the workplace that might not be so obvious have since emerged,” continued Mr Drewsen.

“This National Safe Work Month should be the time for employers to focus on the most important aspect of their business: their people.

“Implementing the right strategies can be hard, particularly for those in high-risk settings, but if it isn’t done right it can cost lives. Ensuring a safe workplace is a year-long commitment and employers have to get it correct. If they have doubts on how to best manage their health and safety obligations they should refer to government health advice or contact Employsure.”


Further enquiries:

Matthew Bridges

[email protected]

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