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How Effective OH&S Standards Can Develop Stronger Communities

How an OH&S standard can build safer workplaces and communities.

Things have been tough for everyone over these past few months. Workplaces across Australia have either been told to shut down completely until it is safe to reopen, or to drastically modify their business operations, so that employees are now either working from home, or in heavily modified onsite conditions. People have been asked to socially distance from one another, and for the time being, we are advised to avoid face-to-face contact. It can be difficult to feel a sense of connectedness under these challenging conditions, and that is why it is now more important than ever to maintain a sense of community.

While communities can be developed in happy, or challenging, conditions, what is required to foster their growth is a sense of communal safety, which results in high productivity. Firstly, what is a community? It is a group of people coming together over shared values, environment, or a way of life. Communities are meant to unite people, and as such, are built upon core values such as safety, trust, and a sense of belonging. With many people feeling a sense of social isolation in recent times, it is important for business’ to do everything they can to promote a sense of community amongst their staff, clients, and customers.

Community values bring people together

Business owners may be wondering what they can do to foster a sense of community amongst their staff during this difficult time. After all, staff that feel valued and included are more likely to bring a positive mindset to their work, feel free to speak up about any concerns that they have, and be more productive as they go about their duties.

Business’ can demonstrate their commitment to the mental and physical wellbeing of their staff, customers, and stakeholders through the implementation of an effective Occupational Health and Safety Management System, which works at proving to staff that your business is mindful of potential OH&S risks in the onsite environment, and is taking active steps to address them, thus ensuring that staff are provided with a safe and supportive work environment.

The International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety standards sets a benchmark for effective workplace health and safety. This is achieved by developing a proactive approach to risk prevention, where potential OH&S risks are discovered, catalogued, and then mitigated against, before they have a chance to significantly impact operations. Further, getting certified to these standards fulfills the regulatory and legal obligations of the business, while also demonstrating its commitment to fostering a safe, productive, work environment, with minimal downtime.

Safe workplaces help build safe communities

Every business in Australia needs to address the issue of effective occupational health and safety, with many organisations having a distinct set of OH&S concerns which are unique to their industry. Factories and manufacturing plants may be concerned with ensuring their floor sites run safely and smoothly, and that the machinery they use poses no risks to employees. Business’ operating in high pressure environments may be concerned with ensuring both the physical and mental wellbeing of their staff. Regardless of the industry a business operates in, it will have to work at developing an OH&S management system to ensure the wellbeing of its staff while onsite.

Safe, productive workplaces are the foundation of safe, productive communities. When staff feel safe, secure, and valued at their workplace they are more likely to strive for excellence, perform duties with minimal downtime, and be a productive team member. By implementing the OH&S Management system found within the ISO 45001 Standards, your business is demonstrating to staff, clients, and customers that it has strong community values, that it takes the health and safety of its staff seriously, and that everyone onsite has a right to feel safe.

In short, the ISO 45001 standards are designed to give business’ the foundation they need to create safe, supportive work environments, and to put preventative measures in place to mitigate potential employment-related injuries. These standards are recognised across the world, and as a result, certification to them demonstrates to local, national, and international parties that your business takes its ethical, regulatory, and legal health and safety requirements seriously.

Do these standards apply to my business?

There are so many different business types and industries in the marketplace, with many conducting their operations in a manner that may be largely unique to them. As such, if business’ are concerned about whether these standards apply to their organisation, they should ask themselves this question: Is strong workplace health and safety a concern for business? If the answer is yes, then these standards could be applied to your business.

Regardless of the particulars of your operations, how small or large the business is, or how unique its operating style is, if health and safety is an issue your business needs to address in any capacity, then it stands to benefit from these standards. This is because the health and safety guidelines and frameworks outlined in the standards can be applied to both a broad and specific context, as well as be used as a guide for building on an existing OH&S management system, or implementing an entirely new one from the ground up.

You may have some questions about how these standards could be tailored to your business, the ways in which it could help foster a safe, community workplace, and increase general productivity through the demonstration of strong community safety values. Please give Anitech’s safety consultants a call today on 1300 802 163, to discuss with them the specific OH&S requirements of your organisation, the ways in which you feel these standards could benefit it, and what your business needs out of an effective OH&S management system. Communities are built through trust, mutual respect, and an open, supportive environment, and wouldn’t you like your workplace to be like this?

Please click here to find out more about how an effective Occupational Health and Safety management system works at ensuring the wellbeing of an important business asset; safe, happy staff.

 

James Briggs

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