For many employees working on a construction site, a road crew, or in manual labour, the slightest misstep or distraction can be disastrous. Although it only takes one second for a serious workplace accident to occur, it can take much longer to recover from one, that is, assuming recovery is even possible. Thousands of employees across Australia need to deal with a range of different Work Health and Safety risks throughout their workday, including falls from a dangerous height, equipment falling on their head, and a potential lack of appropriate protective equipment at worksites. This can add an extra layer of stress for employees working in high stress environments, where every second counts, and they need to be able to devote their full attention to their work duties, to ensure they are done safety, securely, and inline with industry compliance. In short, they should not have to waste time and effort worrying whether their worksite is safe, as this should just be a given.
Employers have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their staff as they carry out their work duties. Not only does this result in a safe, productive work environment, it can also lead to a happy one, as demonstrating that your business is committed to industry compliant, safe work practices can significantly improve staff morale, as employees will feel safe and supported as they carry out their work duties, which is conducive to a supportive, productive work environment.
However, there are so many different occupational health and safety risks that employers need to adequately address, to ensure their workplaces are both physically and mentally safe, supportive environments for staff. It is not enough to address workplace injuries and incidents after they occur, and work at mitigating their effects on the business’ operations, but rather, business’ should be proactive in reducing the likelihood of workplace injuries occurring in the first place. An effective way to demonstrate a commitment to strong work health and safety standards is through the adoption of a proactive risk-assessment model, in which potential OH&S threats are actively catalogued and mitigated against before they even happen, thus ensuring a safe, productive, happy workplace, in which employees are briefed on what steps have been taken to ensure their safety, they are trained on what to do in the event of an incident, and everyone in the workplace is aware of their own role and responsibility in promoting a safe work environment.
The implementation of the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety standards provides business’ with a one-stop solution to their organisational workplace health and safety requirements, which builds on the existing strengths of the older, phased out, OH&S OHSAS 18001 and the AS/NZS 1801 standards. The new ISO 45001:20018 standards have a number of benefits the previous OH&S standards did not possess, including employing the same High Level Structure (HLS) model across its guidelines that other ISO standards offer, which ensures a sense of continuity of cohesiveness within organisations that utilise multiple ISO standards.
For example, the ISO 9001 Quality Management and the ISO 14001 Environmental Management standards, both of which are often utilised by business’ to help them streamline their operations and reduce downtime, also utilise the HLS model, which means that business’ implementing the ISO 45001 standards will already have a basic understanding of the way the standards operate, and will be able to easily integrate it into their operations. Further, the ISO 45001 standards have a wider scope than the older guidelines, by placing a larger focus on management processes and procedures, and what upper levels of management can do to help promote a safe working environment for all employees. This helps promote employee morale across the board, as staff from all levels are seen as taking an active role in developing strong OH&S strategies across the business.
The PDCA model Promotes Decent Cultural Awareness
Further, the demonstrably successful Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) model, which was evident in the OHSAS 18001 standards, has been carried over to these new guidelines, to ensure that business’ can continue to easily develop industry compliant OH&S workspaces. The PDCA model addresses all potential OH&S risks from a range of perspective and angles, to ensure that:
- There is adequate Planning about what to do in the event of an OH&S risk, that all staff are adequately briefed and trained on recognising, reporting on, and mitigating potential harm to themselves and others, and so on. The planning stage looks at what steps need to be taken at the worksite to ensure it is a safe and supportive environment for all staff, that potential work environmental threats, such as falling risks, are mitigated against through the implementation of safeguards, and so on.
- The OH&S strategies and processes that were devised, and deemed to be appropriate to the organisation, in the planning stage, are able to easily be implemented across the organisation, in a seamless, systematic manner. This is the Doing stage, and it sees the OH&S strategies that the company has decided on, which are compliant with the ISO 45001 standards, being implemented across all worksites. This stage is complementary to the planning stage, as it sees the industry compliant guidelines get implemented across the workplace. The rigorous planning stage sees that all OH&S concerns are addressed, and that the proposed solutions are compliant with the ISO 45001 standards. This ensures that their implementation can be conducted in a methodical, seamless manner.
- There is an adequate Checking procedure in place across the business, to ensure that the implemented OH&S strategies do what they are supposed to do, work in cohesion with other OH&S business systems, and that the results are clearly catalogued in an OH&S report. This allows business’ to track the success of their OH&S systems, and identify potential weak points.
- The business has a clear systematic process in place for taking regular Action in implementing, maintaining, and improving existing OH&S practices. Local, state, and national rules, laws and regulations regarding OH&S compliant practices can often change, as changes in the industry, or society, has resulted in new rules and guidelines regarding effective WHS strategies. By utilisting these proven successful, internationally certified standards, your business will be able to keep up with changing OH&S trends, and ensure that its worksites are all safe, supportive, productive environments.
Strong OH&S practices keeps your staff, clients, and business, safe
Whenever a serious workplace injury is reported in the media, questions are always asked about how and why it happened in the first place. Were safety procedures overlooked? Did the company not follow its duty of care? Are people still safe working with that organisation? These kinds of questions can bring a business’ reputation into question, making it harder for them to maintain staff and client confidence, and continue to operate as a profitable organisation. The ISO 45001 Standards can work with your organisation to help prevent workplace injuries from occurring in the first place, thus ensuring that your company can focus on its work duties, and that staff, by knowing they are in a safe, secure environment, are able to devote their complete attention to their designated tasks.
If you would like to know more about how these OH&S standards could be applied to your workplace to ensure it is safe, secure, and industry comply, with a happy, productive work culture, then please give Anitech’s safety consultants a call today on 1300 802 163. Tell them about your workplace, and the kinds of OH&S risks it needs to safeguard itself from, and they will be able to discuss with you how these standards could be most effectively tailored to your business, to ensure its safe, smooth operation. Isn’t this the kind of safe peace of mind all business’ want?
Please click here to read more about how an OH&S management system can provide peace of mind to employees, which leads to a safe, productive work environment.