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Push For More Transparent Workplace Safety Reporting

news
August 6 2019

By Leigh Johnston

A peak body representing Australian investors has called for more transparent reporting of workplace safety issues amongst Australia’s top companies.

The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors released is ESG reporting by the ASX200 research this week, revealing 22 workplace deaths amongst listed companies. However, there is no requirement to report this information to the market. Instead it is collected by state-based agencies and may vary by sector, making it difficult to locate.

ACSI CEO Louise Davidson said that current and transparent data was essential to Australian investors.

“Safety data is material to our members. We are concerned that the lack of transparency about workplace deaths may mask the extent of this tragedy and slow the identification of systemic risks.

“Information about ESG practices is a critical piece of business intelligence. Investors need to understand how companies are tackling ESG issues to make their investment decisions.”

Key findings from the research include:

  • 16 of 22 reported workplace fatalities were contractors, suggesting there is a disconnect between the safety practices of companies and the standards they require of contractors.
  • 67 companies disclosed no safety information, including eight companies that pay executive bonuses based on safety outcomes. This lack of information is out of step with investor expectations.
  • Consequence management disclosure, which describes how companies deal with poor behaviour and breaches of conduct standards, is gaining prominence in the wake of the Financial Services Royal Commission.

Related: Creating a Safe Workplace [Infographic]

Employsure Founder and Managing Director Ed Mallett said employers of all sizes had a responsibility to track and monitor safety incidents and risks.

“Every year in Australia almost 200 employees are killed at work,” he said. “Safety should be the first and foremost priority of any employer, and there are number of things they can do to make sure they are providing a safe workplace.

“Reporting and tracking incidents means you can uncover recurring issues, identify patterns and take appropriate action to address problem areas. Workplace safety is a proactive, ongoing process and reporting should be a key component of that.

“As this research from ACSI shows, there is more scrutiny than ever on business compliance. Investing in workplace safety is an investment in your workforce, your reputation and the financial security of your business.”

Related: Workplace Health And Safety Workbook [Free Download]