Managing risk when working from home

It’s no surprise that moving between an office, site, and home working location has its benefits for employees. Flexibility and increased autonomy can improve mental wellbeing, which helps to increase staff productivity and retention.

This type of hybrid work model started to become popular in recent years, with some employers embracing this new way of working, whilst others were more cautious. But once the pandemic hit, employers who had not supported the model, and those who simply rejected it, were forced to be more flexible.

A new way of working

Now, post pandemic, many employers are considering long term hybrid work models due to their benefits. To preserve the full benefits of the hybrid model, it’s important for organisations and individuals to make sure that the work from a home environment is as safe as working from the office or worksite.

When working on a site, in an office or in a public space, safety inspections and audits are part of the way we work. While sometimes they can be tedious, they always have a purpose. Few would disagree that it’s better to discover a safety risk as part of an inspection, rather than after an employee is injured.

So, does an employee’s private residence count as a workplace if they are conducting work there? The answer is yes! And if an employee is injured in their home whilst conducting work, it’s considered a workplace injury.

Because of this, organisations need to ensure they have systems in place to identify and assess hazards in a home work environment. They then need to implement risk controls and review them, the same as for any other hazard. To do this, organisations need to ensure their employees complete regular safety checks in their own home environment, just as they would complete a regular safety check in a traditional workplace.

Resources for employers

Business Victoria has created a helpful template to help you get started on the type of hazards that need to be considered and made safe: Working from home safety and wellbeing checklist | Business Victoria

It’s also important to set aside regular check in time with employees who are working from home. Managers or supervisors may not have regular face to face contact with these individuals which can make it much more difficult to know when something isn’t quite right and when to provide further support. So make it a date!

Lastly, if a home work environment is unsafe for operational or personal reasons, it’s important to provide another work location. No matter the source of the risk, if it effects the employee during their work hours, it is a workplace hazard.

Here are a few more resources to help you navigate the risks safely, so that everyone can have the flexibility that works for them post pandemic.

Managing risks | Safe Work Australia

Minimising the spread of COVID-19: Working from home – WorkSafe

Health and safety for working from home | WorkSafe.qld.gov.au

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Head of People – [CLOSED 15/11/2021]

Fantastic opportunity for an experienced people leader with expertise in people operations, to work in our values-based business. 

  • Part-time 0.6 FTE role, with the ability to flex up to full-time for the right candidate.
  • Melbourne based, however, we would consider flexible working arrangements, including being performed anywhere within Australia.

 

About Us

Our mission is to strive to make safety accessible and easier for all people, no matter their expertise. Yep, we’re those guys, we work hard to ensure mums, dads, brothers, sisters and (big) children arrive home from work daily, so they can live life to the fullest.

To support this mission, we started Action OHS Consulting and then realised that we could empower businesses to manage safety independently, if they had technology that was built to suit them. That’s why we built Safety Champion, which today, co-exists side by side with Action OHS Consulting as sister companies. Collectively, both businesses employ 26 employees, with double digit growth in our headcount in 2021.

With our team continuing to grow, we’re looking for an experienced Head of People who is excited to roll up their sleeves to develop and implement our people strategy to set our team up for success as we continue to grow.

You’ll lead our efforts to build all elements of our employee lifecycle which includes finding, developing and retaining the best talent, and continue to evolve our great culture. You will play a key role in contributing to the direction and growth of our business.

Our preference is to have this role based in Melbourne, however, we would consider flexible working arrangements, including being performed anywhere within Australia.

We see this as being a part-time 0.6 FTE role, with the ability to flex up to full-time for the right candidate.

In this role you’ll

  • Design and shape our People & Culture Strategy and the people programs to support this.
  • You’ll create an incredible employee experience so teams can be supported and empowered to do their best work.
  • Deliver all aspects of talent management including establishing a robust performance management process, compensation reviews, and benefits.
  • Foster a culture of continuous feedback to ensure our people are heard as we scale our business, evolve our culture and refine processes as we grow.
  • Establish our onboarding and performance management processes.
  • Rolling out seamless payroll and onboarding flows.
  • Use best practice sourcing strategies to attract and recruit new talent to join the team.
  • Develop, implement and advise the business on all HR policies.
  • Develop and support all aspects of people operations to structure our company for continued growth.
  • Oversee one (1) direct report which we see the successful applicant leading the recruitment of once established in the role.

Qualifications

  • Experienced people leader with expertise in people operations.
  • Proven success influencing and building capability with senior management.
  • Ideally you have had experience building and developing the people function within a small/medium-sized business; or are a seasoned HR Practitioner looking for their next step.
  • You are empathetic and care about helping teams thrive.
  • You know that scaling a team quickly can be challenging, and the operations you put in place early will have a big impact on the culture you build.
  • You have a first principles and data driven approach to solving challenges.
  • Progressive understanding and approach to HR practices, Employment Law and Fair Work Act.

Why us?

We are passionate about making the change from small to big – and are providing you with a canvas that you can own. We are looking for a highly skilled thinker, problem solver and doer to help us build the best employee experience for our consulting and software teams.

Pioneering this space for us, you will be a critical voice and have significant influence over our direction. We will compensate you well, help you develop, and ensure this is an exciting work experience for you. If you think you might be a good fit for our team, we’d love to hear from you!

We offer:

  • Competitive salary.
  • Flexibility – Many of our team work part-time, allowing them to fit work around their life.
  • Remote-first – Whilst we have a Melbourne-based HQ, we will support you wherever you want to work in Australia.
  • Equipment – We will help support you to get the best equipment for your home office setup so you can do your best work.

If you feel you have what it takes and are excited about the opportunity to have a key people leadership role in a growing business, we’d love to hear from you.

To apply for this role:

To apply for this role please send your covering letter and CV to admin@actionohs.com.au, detailing how you meet the requirements for the role and your motivation to work with us at Safety Champion and Action OHS Consulting.

 

As a values-driven, equal opportunity employer, Safety Champion encourages applications from people from culturally diverse backgrounds, linguistically diverse people, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples, members of the LGBTIQA+ communities and people with disabilities. Applications will only be accepted from candidates who have the appropriate approval to work in Australia.

Build a safer workplace with data analytics

No matter what type of industry you are in, data quality should always be a priority. The ‘cleaner’ and more accurate the data, the better the reporting and analytics which in turn will provide accurate insights into safety trends in your organisation.

When it comes to data and analytics, there are some great and not-so-great ways to go about it.

Reduce the ‘human element’

Relying on paper records to support data analytics can be risky and time consuming. Paper-based solutions or spreadsheets can be tricky things to manage. Multiple users and relying on people to manually input information can result in errors and inconsistencies in the data set, and the subsequent reports.

There is also the time factor. Think hours spent rummaging through filing-cabinets, chasing up staff by phone or email to submit their reports… It sounds like a laborious process that could easily be avoided.

Thankfully, technology is here to help.

Cloud-based safety software like Safety Champion reduces the ‘human element’, and delivers a more efficient way to meet your legal obligations to monitor workplace risks by creating clear, real-time oversight across your whole safety program.

Enabling all your employees to interact with a simple-to-use online software system makes it easier for them (and we love happy workers!) to provide the information you need but it also increases that quality and quantity of data we are looking for – and a central location to find it all.

Good data = great outcomes

Once you have good data, Data Analytics Software can play a huge part in understanding trends and outliers. When data is visualised well, it helps to tell a story by highlighting the useful information in a form that’s easier to understand. Understanding this information is critical to ensuring you are spending your time, money and resources in the areas that will really help increase the safety of your people.

Powerful data and analytic tools will show you exactly where you stand on workplace health and safety. Safety Champion’s Data Analytics Module effectively visualises your data via customisable, interactive dashboards – identify user behaviour, understand how your workforce interacts with the system, and importantly, make informed data-driven decisions on visible trends.

Read more about our Data Analytics Module

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October is National Safe Work Month

5 Tips for a productive National Safe Work Month – October 21

October is National Safe Work Month – a time for Australian workplaces to showcase and promote work health and safety.

The theme for National Safe Work Month this year is think safe. work safe. be safe.

October is not only a perfect time to celebrate and promote the importance of health and safety in the workplace, it is a time to focus on identifying risks by actively listening to workers about their experiences, and implementing work health and safety procedures that benefit all.

5 areas to consider

  1. Plan.
    Get the most out of Safe Work Month and actively talk to your teams and schedule. Safe Work Australia has some fantastic resources to help build excitement and get people talking about National Safe Work Month. Download Safe Work Australia’s National Safe Work Month Campaign Kit.

  2. Listen (…then talk).
    Identify ways that you can interact with key stakeholders. For workers, schedule a “Safety Month” event – morning teas and BBQ’s are always a hit, alternatively schedule in some time during an existing team meeting. Authentically ask: “What opportunities are there for us to improve your safety, or the safety of our customers” – then listen (and take notes). Don’t refute.
    For clients, reach out via a survey [online or at reception]. Have them provide a 5-star rating for: “How would you score us for safety, given our past interactions”; followed by an opportunity for them to provide comment/s.

  3. Do.
    Given the energy generated from your planning, Safe Work Month provides a great time to schedule safety activities:
    Review your Safety Manual (and documents). Does it reflect the work you do? Yes – *Tick*. No – You need to decide: (i) Do you update the document to reflect the work? Or (ii) Do you change the work to reflect the document? Or (iii) Can you take a little bit from column A and a little bit from column B.
    Safety Walk-through Inspection – is signage, line marking, lighting, walkways, and equipment in good condition? When you look actively, you will see things that you miss when you look passively.
    Gather a group and make a list of the “things” that could injure workers and/or customers. Once created – make a list the things you are doing to prevent the injuries. Is there more that you could, or should do?
    Schedule any annual training or communications – for example, re-inductions to workers and/or contractors.

  4. Upskill.
    Safe Work Australia and your state regulator (one of: WorkSafe, SafeWork, WorkCover) will have a calendar of events during Safe Work Month. ‘Look’ and ‘Book’ now.

  5. Look.
    Search for ways that you can make safety a part of your business as usual. Use Safety Champion Software  to schedule inspections, report and monitor workplace health and safety risks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t let COVID-19 mean you neglect the rest of your OHS program

As we continue to see a challenging period for business’ as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination drives across the country will hopefully, in the coming months, see us emerging from lockdown and getting back to a relative kind of normal. From a workplace perspective, many organisations will be able to reset and re-establish their operations by working with the guidance provided by governments, peak industry bodies, and safety regulators.

 

To keep workers and customers safer against the pandemic and allowing businesses get back on track, the focus will certainly be on being proactive. Organisations have assessed known risk areas, implemented control methods, and both established and documented clear OHS policies and procedures. Importantly, they have identified ways to support safety-related information flowing through to workers, often realised via an increase in team meetings or the roll out of cloud-based solutions like Safety Champion Software.

 

However, in the chaos of the last year, and the first half of this year, with so many ever-changing COVID-19 related rules to follow, many of us may have inadvertently forgotten about our overall OHS safety program. Do you even remember the last time you reviewed any of your workplace OHS policies, or audited operational practices that weren’t COVID-19 related?

 

 

The pandemic certainly brought attention to the value of the OHS industry as a whole, and helped to show how important it is to have clear and concise protocols for employees to follow in a crisis. But now it is time to leverage the outstanding work we have all achieved in the health and safety space in our workplaces and move the focus to areas we may have been neglecting over the past year, with the COVID-19 response taking up more attention.

 

Don’t just limit your focus to what has fallen to the side as a result of COVID-19.

 

With a newfound confidence in the management of COVID-19, businesses are now encouraged to extend their lens to hazards and risks that may have been historically ignored. Pay attention to those hazards and risks that have previously been viewed as “too hard” to manage, or those hazards and risks that businesses have ignored as they were not sure what effective management could look like, or how change could be implemented.

 

Now is the time to seize the moment. Now is the time to consider the shortfalls in your OHS safety management system. It’s time to reassess your priorities and look under the hood.

 

Here are some considerations to bear in mind when assessing the health of your overall OHS safety program:

 

 

Go back to the beginning

Firstly, refer back to your pre-COVID-19 safety program documentation and think about what your priority areas were then. What has changed? What challenges or focus areas remain the same and which ones are now different?

 

As workplaces push on and operate in a new kind of normalcy – and with employees performing their roles in a variety of new ways and in a range of locations – what else besides COVID-19 do we need to focus upon to ensure our employees are safe from other workplace hazards and risks?

 

No doubt many areas of your program will have changed and need to be updated since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, you may also likely to be faced with similar safety challenges as you experienced pre-pandemic. Work through these carefully.

 

It’s important to plan to ensure your highest priority, or greatest consequence hazards, are addressed. Ensure your safety program remains relevant, and that it reflects your actually workplace activities. When your safety program reflects the work ‘as done’, it will do its job in supporting the safety function across your organisation, long past COVID-19.

 

 

Break it down into small projects

Consider breaking down your requirements into smaller projects or short-term pieces of work to make them more manageable. Could you make a business case for more resources, tools, funding and/or professional safety support to assist you in addressing certain areas of your safety program that have been neglected?

 

 

The onboarding of specialised OHS consulting staff for short-term project work, as opposed to hiring full-time staff in safety-focused roles, can be an affordable way to tackle your priority projects. They can help shine a light on the key areas of focus that will keep your workplace safe and healthy.

 

In addition cloud based health and safety solutions can create an easy way for you to manage these projects and create shared access and visibility, during times where we may not all be operating from the same locations, or have challenges travelling to some sites.

 

Pitch it to management the right way

Your management team will no doubt have recognised the importance of an effective health and safety program, and the implementation of OHS procedures throughout the pandemic. They most likely also would have realised the challenges that arise in maintaining visibility of health and safety, during periods of remote work and travel restrictions.

 

In many cases, the pandemic has been a catalyst for our understanding of why OHS safety programs are important to the overall functionality of your business. So leverage it for better safety practices at your work and more tools to make the process easier.

 

When you are seeking more resources or funding for your safety program, it’s likely management will want to see the value of the investment. This can be demonstrated by explaining how the work or resource ties into broader business goals, and by defining the return on investment.

 

When pitching for safety software, more resources or funding, consider different ways to frame your case. For example, does your business have a focus on returning productivity to pre-pandemic levels, or ascending to a higher level? Do you want to build employee morale after a challenging period of change? Or do you need to focus on improving systems and processes to support efficient ways of working?

 

All of these are opportunities for you to make a case for funding or resourcing pieces of your OHS program or obtaining software to support it. Support from your management is essential for these goals to be achieved in one way or another.

 

Keep your employees front of mind

While COVID-19 will remain an important focus in our workplaces for some time to come, this doesn’t mean we can be ignorant of other hazards and risks that may exist. Some aspects of how we approach our work have significantly changed. However, protecting the health and safety of colleagues will always be the focus.

 

Our employees are the lifeblood of our organisations and without them, there would be no business, no workplaces. So take the time now to review your whole OHS program, not just the policies and procedures relating to COVID-19. Consider integrating your COVID-19 measures into your OHS program as a whole if you haven’t done so already.

 

 

The key is to not lift the focus from your COVID-19 policies and procedures but to turn your attention to other just as important aspects of your program to ensure that whatever may arise in your workplace, you and your employees are ready to face it.

 

To experience how Safety Champion Software can support these process’ and incorporate your Covid-19 measures you can sign up to a 14 day trial today

The importance of tracking safety metrics

Do you measure the performance of the health and safety program in your workplace? When a company has a safety program in place but doesn’t know how effective it is, they’re putting their employees at risk. If you have no idea if your safety program is performing as it should, how do you know if it is being efficient or where improvements could be made?

 

The answer is to implement safety metrics.

 

Safety metrics are designed to help organisations like yours to measure how their safety programs are performing against predefined goals, and to identify potential gaps or areas for improvement within the health and safety program of your business.

 

They are a crucial resource to refer to when making any decision around health and safety in the workplace. So, if you haven’t, you really should be considering implementing safety Key Performance Indicators within your health and safety program today.

 

 

What is a safety KPI?

Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, are metrics that are predefined targets to aim for. In turn, setting KPIs helps to measure the performance of an organisation, based on how far it exceeds or falls below these targets.

 

There are two main types of KPI indicators within the health and safety sphere, and helpfully they are from the same letter of the alphabet:

 

  1. Lagging indicators are focused on past statistics such as how many people were hurt or how severe their injuries were.

 

  1. Leading indicators look after the measurements of the actions taken to prevent incidents from happening in the first place, such as safety inspections and safety training sessions.

 

Using a combination of both of these indicators is the most effective way to measure the effectiveness of your safety program. The best thing is you don’t need to start from scratch. Safety Champion software can make this process easy.

 

Safety Champion software can, for example, allow you to track your established KPIs and alert you about actions that require attention and correction. Furthermore, it offers the capability to track the number of incidents that have been reported, closed, and that remain open.

 

Why do you need safety KPIs?

Tracking your safety KPIs works not only as a diagnostic tool to identify the safety problems within your organisation, but it can also be a driving force for future planning and improvements and ultimately for the success of your business. Visibility to KPIs and associated organisational metrics works to give you visibility of the overall health of your company in terms of safety. What’s not to like about that?

 

In addition, KPIs can readily assist your safety managers to better understand areas that are working and not working. This will ultimately steer your company’s safety program in the right direction and provide the framework to take immediate action to solve safety issues that may arise. When implemented correctly, your KPIs will do the heavy lifting so you don’t have to.

 

How do you decide on your safety KPIs?

There will be circumstances specific to your business that will determine what specific safety KPIs you implement. Factors such as your company’s business operations, goals and strategies, your current risk management activities, existing safety systems and workplace culture can all play a part in what you want to measure, and ultimately how well your health and safety program will perform.

 

When deciding on what your safety KPIs should be, it can be handy to ask yourself a set of questions:

 

  • Where does our organisation currently stand regarding its health and safety performance?
  • Where do we want to be tomorrow?
  • Who within our team receives safety KPI data and what do they do with it?
  • How are safety KPIs and the conclusions that are drawn from these communicated to others within our business?
  • What are our aspirations for driving change within the organisation?

 

Your business is special. What works for one company may not necessarily work for another. It is important to recognise that different industries have their unique set of safety priorities that they want to focus on, and this ultimately will determine the metrics they choose. What are your safety priorities?

 

 

Examples to get you started

If you’re unsure of how to get started on developing your own safety KPIs, here are some essential safety metrics all workplaces should consider implementing:

 

  • Incidents and Near Misses

 

Reviewing the number of near misses that have been reported offers a very good idea of where within your organisation the occurrence of incidents or injuries is most common, and consequently where there is a high probability of occurrence in the future if preventive actions are not taken.

 

Safety Champion’s powerful reporting allows you to identify the type of incidents that have been reported across your organisation, or from a specific area or department within your workplace. It also allows your employees to self-report incidents, which ensures your safety KPIs will become collaborative goals across your business.

 

  • Inspections and Audits Completed

 

Keep track of the number of safety audits and inspections your organisation undertakes in all areas of your operations. Take record of when you complete these, and who within your business operations meets your safety standards to keep track of any changes.

 

Safety Champion software can make this process easy, by giving you automated reminders to undertake your audits and inspections, whether you decide to do these on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

 

  • Corrective Actions

 

Having a high percentage of actions resulting from incidents might mean that you need to consider corrective and/or preventative measurements to prevent the incidents from happening again.

 

Gather the number and type of corrective actions taken from hazardous incidents whilst keeping an eye on the time frame it takes to complete the corrective actions associated, or indeed if they are being completed at all. This collation of data can also be easily achieved with Safety Champion Software.

 

  • Employee Training

 

Implement relevant health and safety training for all your employees, from full time to contractors, to effectively establish health and safety practices and reporting. Again, Safety Champion Software can assist you in keeping track of your employee training records and the implementation of a training schedule.

 

If all your employees are aware and understand your health and safety procedures and policies, you are well on your way to creating a positive safety culture and engaging your workforce with all things safety. You’ll be ensuring you remain compliant and be on your way to successfully measure against this KPI.

 

 

It cannot be stressed enough how important the tracking of safety KPI’s within your health and safety program can be to the overall effectiveness and performance of your business operations. If you proactively promote a safety culture within your organisation, you are taking an important step in encouraging your employees to participate actively in reporting safety metrics.

 

Moreover, by determining the key metrics and finding the right balance of those that would suit your unique business you will help senior management to get a clear picture of what steps need to be taken to protect their employees from risk and harm. Having a powerful reporting system in place such as that offered by Safety Champion Software, you will be well on your way to implementing and measuring your key performance metrics and ultimately keeping your employees safe – a key indicator of success.

 

 

To experience effective and powerful reporting of safety metrics, sign up to a 14-day trial of Safety Champion Software today. 

 

We’re launching our new Safety Tech Talks in partnership with AIHS

At Safety Champion, we are a bunch of safety people whose mission is to do safety better. We want to see the latest in safety tech out there in our workplaces, and to help push our partners to the next level.

 

We’re always on the lookout for the latest tech trends that can help make our workplaces safer. We also want to meet, share and collaborate with our peers in the sector, and to bring fresh ideas and energy to our profession.

 

This is why we are introducing Safety Tech Talks!

 

What are Safety Tech Talks?

Safety Champion has partnered with the Australian Institute of Health & Safety (AIHS) to deliver these new and exciting networking and safety technology exploration events for progressive, active safety professionals.

 

These events have been designed to offer you and your employees a much-needed opportunity to network with professional peers, and relevant safety technology providers face to face.

 

They are also a fantastic way to experience the latest, most innovative safety technologies first-hand.

 

This is a much-needed opportunity for safety people to get out there and explore the latest in tech products that will assist them to perform better in their roles, and keep people safer.

 

The tech to look out for

Safety Tech Talks wants to shine a light on the most progressive safety-related technologies. If you’re wanting to explore what the future will bring to our profession, these are the events for you.

 

We’re hugely proud to be bringing the latest in safety tech to our peers in the sector. We ourselves want to see this stuff and play with it, and we know that you do too.

 

Come along to see innovation and guest demonstrations of some of the most cutting-edge safety tech out there today, from well-known organisations such as Tesla, MonJon and Ancap Safety among many others.

 

We’ve arranged the tech that will be showcased to align with the following key safety themes:

  • Dust Monitoring
  • Manual Handling
  • Vehicle Safety
  • Working at Heights
  • Worker Monitoring

 

There’s sure to be something on offer for you and your organisation that might just make your workplace that much safer.

 

A chance to network

We know that there aren’t too many opportunities these days for people to get out there and network, so we’re pleased to bring you this great 3-hour event to do just that. It’s outside business hours, so you don’t have to worry about taking a day off work, you can connect, schmooze, and enjoy some food and drink on us.

 

And with event sizes of up to only 30 people, our intimate events ensure you can get up close and personal with the tech. You will be able to meet the suppliers, see the products and try them out. But most of all, to have some fun!

 

Register for our Safety Tech Talks at the AIHS event page here. We look forward to seeing you there.

Strategies to include all your employees in the workplace safety culture

When implementing safety policies and procedures in our workplaces, the focus is often on our permanent employees. But did you know that temporary and casual employees, and contractors, are more prone to health and safety risks?

 

Organisational issues such as economic or reward pressures, inadequate implementation of supervision, ambiguity in rules and procedures, improper training, and more complicated lines of management reporting often result in the staff that aren’t always front of mind slipping through the safety cracks and experiencing workplace incidents.

 

It’s a serious issue, but one that can be easily addressed. It’s about ensuring you dedicate the right attention to communicating your health and safety materials, coordinating the right training, supervision and induction to all staff who begin working at your business-whether they are there for a short or an extended period of time.

 

Communication is Key

An easy way to ensure you start as you mean to go on is to implement an arrival induction even before any temporary contractors or suppliers start tasks on your site.

 

It is important for both you and your onboarding staff members that the basics of safety and health requirements of the site, and expectations around what to do in case of an incident or risky situation are clear and understood by both parties. In this way, inductions and safety talks are key to ensure these colleagues know the safety rules and understand the main hazards of the jobs they are running.

 

 

This communication can be performed effectively using the forms in Safety Champion’s Communication Module. You can send out templates such as:

 

  • An arrival induction form including messages and videos for onboarding employees to learn and to be informed about your organisation’s health and safety protocols.

 

  • A pre-engagement email automatically generated for a new contractor that contains health and safety training modules. This will ensure the contractor has the company knowledge and follows and accepts the safety and health practices of the site or company who is hiring them.

 

 

Check your Invite List

Temporary workers, contractors and suppliers operating on your worksite should always be invited to relevant safety meetings in the same way that you invite your regular employees.

 

This is such a simple but also crucial opportunity to ensure that all staff, no matter what level of employment they have within your organisation, do not miss the chance to know what is going on concerning health and safety within your workplace. Safety meetings should be conducted as regularly as possible.

 

You can also use these meetings to ensure temporary staff are up to date with the latest health and safety procedures implemented, and they can also gain insight on or share from their own experience on opportunities for continuous improvement in your workplace.

 

Health and Safety KPIs

It is a great idea to include the health and safety metrics associated with your contracted resources, for example, the number of near misses or hazards reported, within your overall safety KPIs.

 

If the companies that employ your temporary workers, contractors and suppliers are aware that their safety metrics are overseen by your organisation’s management, it is more likely that they will take the health and safety of the staff contracted to your organisation more seriously.

 

This will also enable your temporary staff to feel more encouraged to report hazards or improvement opportunities within your workplace.

 

Regular Leadership Check-ins

A recurring performance review meeting with the leadership team of the contractor or supplier companies working on-site is essential to reinforce the safety message and expectations of the company.

 

Moreover, if the leadership positions within the contractors and suppliers are clear about safety expectations, it is more likely that the safety message is properly shared and communicated to the rest of their staff.

 

 

So, there you have it. If you implement simple strategies that can help employers get started, no matter their level or hours they are contracted to work, you’ll be on the road to ensuring the health and safety of everyone who helps make your business a success.

 

To help ensure your safety communication reaches all your employees, sign up for a trial of Safety Champion Software.

Announcing our new membership with Carlton IN Business

Safety Champion Software is excited to join Carlton IN Business – one of the largest corporate networks in Australia. We look forward to cultivating some long lasting relationships with like-minded businesses and, importantly, facilitating business opportunities for mutual benefit.

 

“It’s a really exciting time for us at Safety Champion Software. As passionate Carlton supporters – well some of us anyway! – we are pleased to have joined the Carlton IN Business network and look forward to meeting some great people and great business through the group,” says Founder of Safety Champion Software, Craig Salter.

 

“We’re ever optimistic about the Blues performance on the footy field, and now we are just as excited to continue this passion with Carlton IN Business off-field too. We are looking forward to working together and to continue our mission to keep Australians safe at work.”

 

At Safety Champion, we are all about reaching more and more businesses with great solutions in health and safety. We are looking forward to working with Carlton IN Business to share our products and services with workplaces of all shapes and sizes to help them find the tools, skills, and knowledge they need to stay safer than ever.

 

To learn more about Carlton IN Business, head on over to https://carltoninbusiness.com.au/

 

Essential health and safety tips for every Australian retailer

The retail industry is one of Australia’s biggest employers, but it’s also where Australia’s workers often get hurt. Did you know the most common injury for people working in retail is to their back? According to WorkSafe Victoria’s handy Injury Hotspots site, back injuries represent a significant 26% of injury claims. These back injuries can be caused by muscle strain from lifting and handling objects/equipment, slipping on floors or uneven surfaces, or tripping over objects.

 

Australians are out of lockdown and back shopping again. As the government eases coronavirus restrictions and more retail stores begin to reopen, business owners need to not only focus on getting back on their feet financially but also, crucially, they need to be across the prevention of workplace injuries such as those outlined above.

 

 

Due to the diverse nature of retail employee situations, ranging from part-time, full time to casual staff, it can be challenging to create the desired level of awareness on the health and safety risks across your workforce. Nevertheless, health and safety compliance is so important, and probably more so now than ever before.

 

So, while it is certainly a relief to see the retail sector recovering after 2020, in the rush to unlock those doors retail businesses cannot become complacent, especially where the health and safety of their employees is concerned. Whether you have just one or multiple stores under your umbrella, prioritising profit over the assessment of safety hazards to employees returning to work is a dangerous path to take.

 

Here are the key considerations every retailer should take into account to keep all their employees safe:

 

Support your store managers 

A store manager’s role is highly demanding. Whether it be ordering stock, implementing a new in-store campaign, or organising a surprise birthday cake for one of their weekend casuals, a store manager has to wear multiple hats to ensure your business runs smoothly.  As an essential bridge between your employees and head office, they are also your key to identify and help to address health and safety concerns that arise in your stores.

 

Often store managers lack safety knowledge so it is important to ensure they are trained well, as they will most likely be the ones training their staff. If they lead by example, they can be a source of inspiration for the employees and promote safety engagement improving overall performance across your stores.

 

Train your employees

Whether it’s being able to identify hazards in store that may cause injury, to having the knowledge to deal with a difficult customer, regular health and safety training for your employees is essential to maintain safety standards across your business. It doesn’t matter if your employees are working in the warehouse or are racking up sales in-store, every staff member needs to be aware of the common hazards and risks associated with their roles.

 

Due to the diverse nature of work in the retail sector, your employees should be trained to handle a variety of situations that they may encounter in different ways. By assessing, monitoring and evaluating your employee’s knowledge before and post-training, you will be able to see areas in your training where you can make improvements.

 

Try implementing different learning tools and methods to train employees, as you can customise these tools to how your employees learn best. Technology can be an effective and low-cost way to train your workforce, such as through live streaming video sessions. This also has the added benefit of allowing you to train your employees across multiple sites simultaneously.

 

Making safety training documents readily accessible to your workforce is also essential. This can also be achieved in cloud-based safety software like Safety Champion.

 

Protect your customers

Retailers should ensure that the stores are inspected often to identify hazards that can disrupt the safety of their customers. After all, what is your store without your customers? The focus today is around the proper COVID-19 related signage and check-in requirements, but these shouldn’t mean you stop completing your normal business as usual health and safety checks.

 

Regular fire extinguisher and smoke alarm checks, assessing uneven or slippery floors, and recording lighting levels and air quality are all ways to identify hazards early, and to protect your customers when they set foot into your store

 

Manage safety with ease in multiple stores

Do you have stores in multiple locations? Many business or franchise owners can find it difficult to maintain a level of consistency concerning policies and procedures across their stores. But with the right safety procedures and systems in place, retailers can keep everyone safe.

 

The success of any retail business depends upon unity of people, process and systems. Having robust safety management software can come in handy for maintaining the health and safety standards across multiple stores.

 

 

A centralised system such as that offered by Safety Champion can help safety leaders get an overall picture. They can monitor all in-store safety activities and analyse trends over time, identifying gaps or areas for improvement. Safety management software can also help to establish a unified standard for a business’s safety procedures across all its sites.

 

Your management can use this software to communicate with employees on the latest safety process updates. Additionally, safety documents for inductions, training, contracts, and policies can be created, edited and sent to those in your business wherever they may be working.
Sign up for Safety Champion today to receive your free trial of multisite safety management software.

Announcing our new partnership with Collective Safety

Safety Champion Software is proud to have partnered with Collective Safety – the newest offering for Australian workplaces looking to simplify safety management.

 

Collective Safety helps you access a pool of trusted experts in occupational health and safety, providing impartial safety, wellness and workers’ compensation support for clients who need project solutions from specialist consultants.

 

 

construction safety

 

 

Collective Safety is all about reducing the burden of safety on organisations, simplifying the process and making safety jargon-free. Their streamlined process ensures you will be connected to experts who can provide support quickly and easily.

 

We’re proud to support their mission because this means more people in more workplaces will get access to better, smarter solutions in safety, and ultimately keep our workplaces safe from harm. And that’s what we are all about at Safety Champion too.

 

“Smart and simple safety management software – like Safety Champion – really is an integral part of any effective safety program. We’re very pleased to be offering our fantastic software product to Collective Safety and their client base – and look forward to seeing stronger, more sustainable safety practices in more workplaces out there”.

Craig Salter, Founder

 

 

 

We are excited to have been selected to be part of a small pool of trusted partners of Collective Safety. We look forward to working with them to share our products and services with more businesses to help them stay safer than ever.

 

You can learn more about Collective Safety at their website here https://www.collectivesafety.com.au/about-us

Top health and safety tech trends in the manufacturing & industrial sector

The manufacturing and industrial sector is always on the lookout for new technologies.

 

Usually, technology is adopted because of its positive impacts on improved workplace productivity and efficiency, and resulting in increased return on investment. But it is important to note that the latest technology can also be of immense benefit to work health and safety practices established within our workplaces.

 

Whether implementing brand new technology or upgrading to the latest on the market, it’s not just about making an organisation look efficient and productive. It has to work too – especially when it comes to the health and safety of your people.

 

When implemented well, new technology can greatly improve a workplace’s ability to adhere to health and safety laws.

 

There are many ways in which the latest technology can be used for safety purposes. Safety monitoring, reporting, training, and communication can always be improved upon, and updating tired and traditional methods can be a good solution to drive improvements in overall safety.

 

So what’s happening in technology for health and safety in the manufacturing and industrial sector? Here are a few of the latest technologies that are trending right now:

 

 

Work health and safety training with augmented reality

No longer just in the movies, augmented and virtual reality equipment is becoming increasingly popular in health and safety training in various industries.

 

Virtual reality allows workers to be exposed to very high-risk situations in a completely safe environment. Rather than reading about a hazardous scenario in a manual, they can experience the situation virtually and effectively train for a real-life scenario.

 

 

Hi-tech safety wearables in manufacturing

Safety wearables such as smart goggles and smart vests are not only this season’s must-have looks, but they can also be used by employees for improved visibility within their workspaces.

 

Wearables help reduce risk and human error and improve response times in the event of an accident. These items can also produce timely and trackable data that you can use to help improve work conditions and worker accountability. For example, smart glasses, with specially embedded cameras, can record details of the wearer’s work to ensure they are performing their role safely.

 

 

Smart jackets and vests can quickly report to its wearer with environmental data such as air quality, airborne pollutants and noise levels. They can also measure heart and breathing rates, perspiration rate and orientation, and send vibrations to the wearer as a warning signal when safety thresholds are surpassed.

 

Who knew a piece of clothing could be so smart?

 

WHS software and mobile apps

Health and safety apps can help you stay connected with your team, irrespective of their location and whether they are on site or working remotely.

 

OHS mobile apps are also a quick and easy way to capture and report hazards in the workplace, and some even have the ability to report incidents offline too.

 

Because everyone from your workmate, Gary, to your dear old gran carries their phone with them everywhere these days, this is an easy way to implement a reporting process.

 

Safety Champion Software is one such example, and it can ensure you can report offline when you have restricted access to the internet. This is especially useful at times where critical events are occurring, or in areas of factories with limited coverage and where the internet cannot be accessed.

 

Using healthy and safety software has the added benefit of giving you real-time data to monitor ongoing process and can be used to drive improvement within your workplace health and safety procedures.

 

It also keeps a record of all your past data so that you can easily evaluate your safety performance over periods of time. So, it might just be time to say goodbye to that filing cabinet full of paper-based forms and replace it with a nice plant to brighten the office.

 

 

 

Benefits of looking to technology for better safety

Advancements in technology have always gone a long way in assisting the prevention of workplace injuries and fatalities. As tools and gadgetry like those mentioned above become ever more sophisticated, workplace safety will only become all the easier to manage.

 

To finish us off today, consider some of the key benefits of getting the right technology in place in your organisation;

  • When implemented well and in alignment with an organisation’s overall health & safety program, technology can help keep your employees happy, and most importantly, safe.
  • Your employees will feel a greater personal sense of safety knowing they have a high level of protection.
  • You can monitor and track your safety progress, and quickly find areas for improvement. The future of tech in this space will even be able to predict areas that need attention.
  • Technology brings greater productivity and efficiency by reducing administrative burden doing things the old way.
  • Great tech will allow you to continually improve and spend your time and energy on parts of your operations or business that need attention.

 

So why not sit down with your leadership team and think about how you can improve health and safety practices in manufacturing with the additional of a little tech bling. Not only could you see great improvements in performance, but your team will certainly appreciate the effort and resources you put in to help keep them safer while they work.

 

Start your 14-day trial with Safety Champion Software as a first step towards embracing tech in your safety practices.

Managing the health and safety of a virtual team

The reality for many businesses today is that they will have a portion, if not all, of their team working virtually. Whilst this was the case for a growing number of businesses pre-COVID-19, it has become considerably more globally widespread across many industries as a result of the pandemic.

 

If you’re considering keeping some or all of your team set up virtually as part of your post-pandemic operations, it is important to consider how you can manage and uphold strong occupational health & safety practices in the remote working environment. This way you will ensure your employees remain safe from harm.

 

Assessing the safety of remote workspaces

You may not be able to physically see your employees, but you are still responsible for their health and safety.

 

Don’t fall victim to the old ‘out of sight, out of mind’ adage; the health and safety of your team members working virtually must be protected in the same way as you would protect the employees you have working on-site.

 

Ask yourself:

  • Do they have a safe space to set up a workspace in their home?
  • Is their space free of electrical and other physical hazards?
  • What about risks to their mental health?
  • Do they have appropriate lighting and ventilation in their remote workspace?
  • Do they have access to bathroom and kitchen facilities?
  • Are their smoke alarms operational and are emergency exits known?
  • Is their computer software safe and secure?
  • What about their active management and knowledge of COVID safe practices?

 

The types of questions above are commonly asked when assessing whether an office space is fit for your employees to use. It is just as important to ask the same questions if your employees are now working from their beach house, or the breakfast bar at home while feeding the kids.

 

 

You should be considering their home workspace as an extension of your traditional workplace or office. Their space must be free from risks and hazards. If an employee of yours is injured or cannot do their role to the best of their ability within a remote working environment, you as an employer may be considered legally responsible.

 

So how can you keep your employees safe and stay on top of these potential risks and hazards when you cannot physically see them?

 

 

Greater visibility of virtual workers using a cloud-based safety solution

The answer is cloud-based safety management software. Accessible wherever your workplace may be, and wherever your employees are physically located, cloud-based software makes it easy for you to stay compliant with your Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) responsibilities

 

It also means you can keep all your workplace-specific safety communications in one secure location for your entire workforce to easily access.

 

No more rummaging in filing cabinets for a safety manual or loading paper into the photocopier to print out a safety checklist. All-important OHS information is readily accessible online for your entire workforce. Everyone is on the same page.

 

Cloud-based safety software enables you to collate entire safety data from all of your employees, even if they are working across multiple locations. Having all of your data in the one place allows for consistency in your messaging across your virtual and non-virtual teams.

 

 

Your employees can also easily report any safety-related issues they may experience in their remote workspace securely and confidentially whilst online.

 

Safety software can also help you to create and delegate important tasks to your employees. Tasks such as asking your employees to perform ergonomic workstation assessments, or to arrange for safety audits of their environment, are relevant examples.

 

Such functions can be easily set to repeat at regular intervals.

 

These regular reminders to complete OHS tasks will ensure that health and safety becomes a normal part of your employees remote working routine, alongside scheduling in that second cup of coffee for the morning.

 

 

The benefits of safety management software

Safety software greatly assists with ensuring your remote workforce has ready access to health and safety guidance and information. This tech tool helps you feel confident that important communications from head office are shared and seen, when and as needed.

 

As your employees continue to find their groove in their new remote ways of working, they will feel safe from harm knowing that their health and wellbeing is considered a priority by you, their employer, no matter where they may be working from today or tomorrow.

 

If you are keen to learn more please reach out to us today, or alternatively start a free trial here.

How safety management software can help you to manage COVID-19 risks in the workplace

From a work health and safety management perspective, COVID-19 is not so different from any other hazard in the workplace 

Many people find this surprising to hear 

However, when you consider that your duty – as a manager or leader in an organisation – is to provide a safe working environment for your workers, and to both know and managall hazards and risks to worker health and safety, it becomes more clear.  

COVID-19 is a hazard. This hazard may very well be present in your workplace at any given time. Therefore, you, as a duty holder, must ensure the hazard is effectively controlled and managed to prevent harm to your workers. 

 

 

How can you best manage this risk? 

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has impacted our lives and the wider world around us in distressing and upsetting ways. Yet, from a purely work health and safety perspective, it can be approached in a similar way as other hazards and risks.  

That is, you must understand the hazard and then do everything you can to mitigate the risk of this impacting the health and safety of your workers 

Having said this, it is important to first reiterate that COVID-19 is a highly infectious and possibly fatal disease. Furthermore, it has the potential to not only affect the health of your workers but also their families, friends and the broader community.  

COVID-19 is, therefore, one hazard that must be very carefully and purposefully managed by all businesses and organisations.  

So how can you best manage this risk? Well, we recommend that you are proactive in your approach. At times like these, workers are looking for direct and clear advice from leadership. Plus, it is important that you provide workers with the right tools thelp them to fulfil what is asked of them. 

 

 

 

WHS management software for COVID-19 management 

With COVID-19, things move fast. The advice from government and regulatory bodies is constantly changing. So, it is important you have a tool that allows you the flexibility to adapt when things change.  

WHS or OHS management software helps in this regard. It is a central repository, where all of your safety related documents, records and activity is stored and managed. You can control who sees what and who can edit what. And you can control the messaging that goes out to your workers about the latest when it comes to COVID-19. 

Safety management software really is a great tool to have under your belt at this time – a time when active work health and safety is more important than ever. 

 

 

 

Four key aspects you must have in your OHS response to COVID-19  

Here’s four important aspects of managing the COVID-19 hazard from a work health and safety (WHS) perspective, and how our safety management software, Safety Champion, can assist you to manage the risk of your workers contracting COVID-19 in your workplace.  

 

 

Ensuring everyone is across the latest rules you have set in place 

Safety Champion’s Communication Module allows you to share important changes to policies or practices related to COVID-19 directly with your team. You can request that workers sign off that they have read and understood the information you share, giving you peace of mind that your team know the latest and most important information.  

 

Keeping track of when your workers are on site 

Our Site Attendance Module allows you to both track movement of people in and out of your workplaces or work sites, and provide them with the “site rules” they are to follow prior to entryRemind them that they shouldn’t enter the workplace if they are experiencing symptoms, and let them know what they should or shouldn’t do once they are on site. This allows your workers to learn how they play their part in your infection control measures, at the exact point when its most important. 

 

Engaging your workers to play their part  

Safety Champion’s Hazard Module gives your workers a way to instantly report hazards that may increase the risk of COVID-19 spreading. For example, a worker might see that utensils in the kitchen are being used by multiple people, without evidence of cleaning or sanitisation. Workers can use their phone, tablet or computer to report any hazards they see and take a photo then and there. This way you can swiftly manage the risk. 

 

Managing reported COVID-19 cases, quickly  

Safety Champion provides you with a way to track and manage COVID-19 cases. Our Incident Reporting and Investigation Module lets workers report any suspected or actual cases of COVID-19 instantly and from anywhere. An alert can be configured so that you can immediately begin to control the risk. Whether your team are working from their usual place of work or from home, it’s important that you are across the health of your team – especially when it comes to coronavirus. 

 

 

Start a 14-day obligation-free trial of Safety Champion today.

 

 

Evidence supporting your COVID safe response 

 

An important benefit of using health and safety software as a central tool in your workplace response to the COVID-19 virus, is that it keeps all your documents, records and evidence in order for you.   

 

This saves you the time and hassle of keeping these records using several tools, and compiling information togetheras and when needed.  

 

It can be especially tricky to keep strong records and evidence when your workers have, likely, changed how they work, where they work, how long they work for, etc. With all this movement and change, what you really need is an all-in-one tool – that your entire team can access from where ever, whenever – to manage not only COVID-19, but all of your legal duties when it comes to work health and safety. 

 

Your evidence, documents and records are stored by Safety Champion up in the cloud – ready for you when you need. 

 

What’s more, it is actually a duty of yours to keep such information in place. If the regulator ever came knocking to review your COVID safe plan or your OHS practices in general, it is of great benefit to you if you have these items in place. 

 

Trust us – Safety Champion will do wonders for you when it comes to keeping those all-important records and evidence of the measures you have in place to protect the people in your workplace.  

 

 

If you’re keen to learn more about how safety management software, Safety Champion Software, can assist you with the implementation of your COVID safe plan (and your WHS practices in full), reach out to us today! 

 

Every National Safe Work Month, our team gets together to think about ways we can contribute ‘above and beyond’ to the work health and safety sector. After all, this is our passion. This is what we love.  

 

We always start with a simple question:  

 

How can we help all workplaces push for excellence in health and safety?  

 

We start with this question because we know that work health and safety has, let’s just say, complicated reputation. It’s often perceived as complex and confusing. Business owners and leaders are often unsure about what to do to ensure compliance with legal duties.  

 

And for this reason, we strive to make great safety management easier and more accessible with our software, and supporting consulting services. This is in fact our mission, and it’s something we strive for every day. 

 

 

Last year’s big idea in safety management

 

During Safe Work Month last year, we launched Safety Champion LightThis is a brilliant 100% free safety software plan that allows organisations of all kinds to boost their safety practices.  

 

Our Safety Champion Light customers can access some of the most integral features and modules required for great safety management – all without a fee. With great modules like inspections, incident management, planning, and hazard management, our Safety Champion Light really does deliver above and beyond – and that’s exactly what we wanted. 

 

Since its launch, we’ve seen approaching 1,000 organisations sign up to this plan and start working towards better safety outcomes.  

 

 

This year’s big idea in safety performance

 

This Safe Work Month, we’rproud to launch the Safety Champion Impact Assessment. This fantastic new tool is designed to help our customers reach further than ever towards great safety management and compliance.  

 

The Safety Champion Impact Assessment allows our customers to track and measure their impact in safety, and make improvements that matter, over time. 

 

 

From baseline data, we check back in and re-assess key metrics on a regular basis, allowing our customers can see how they are tracking across four key pillars of safety: 

 

  • Safety Compliance 

  • Leadership in Safety 

  • Control & Delivery 

  • Awareness & Engagement  

 

The Safety Champion Impact Assessment take our customers to the next level when it comes to safety. It truly bring safety into greater focus at all levels of the business by allowing businesses to report on and share meaningful findings and evidence of progress.  

 

 

A focus on safety during Safe Work Month 

 

We love this time of year at Safety Champion software. October in Australian workplaces is all about increasing awareness about great health and safety practices. This includes a focus on mental health in the workplace with #mentalhealthawarenessweek in the month of October as well.  

 

It’s a great time for any organisation to start the conversation around how safety practices can be boosted to support the safety and health of everyone. 

 

So why not take safety that step further than mere compliance this National Safe Work Month. Why not go for gold in safety excellence! 

 

With the Safety Champion Impact Assessment tool, you can bring safety into greater focus in your workplace, report and share the results, and make integral shifts throughout your business working towards fantastic, holistic safety management. 

 

Learn more about this tool today: safetychampion.com.au/impactassessment

3 WHS Management Considerations for the Current and Future COVID-19 World

The COVID-19 pandemic has developed an extraordinary set of circumstances revolving around work health and safety. The viral infection that has severely impacted the world has raised concerns among employees, employers, and worker representatives, especially for team members who are still required to work on-site or beyond the confines of their homes and those returning to work at the ease of quarantine measures. 

 

Organisations have begun to generate and circulate new protective measures for their staff, accompanied by a rise in demand for technologies that respond to the global crisis. These solutions include the incorporation of a WHS management system. 

 

A WHS management software is primarily designed to oversee the health and safety requirements of organisations regardless of size and industry. The platform covers tasks that include efficient incident management, risk and hazard identification and assessment, automatic alerts for license and equipment expiry, health and safety documentation and training as well as WHS report generation, among others. 

 

As we struggle to adapt to the new normal, the features of a WHS management software have a bigger role to play in a world inflicted by COVID-19. The World Health Organization recommends developing an action plan to prevent and mitigate COVID-19, which should be based on outcomes of risk evaluation and the company’s epidemiological landscape. 

 

Since much is anchored on risk assessment and the implementation of safeguarding measures, traditional WHS management methods won’t simply suffice as the pandemic persists and as industries cope with its eventual aftermath. 

 

Check out new factors that ought to be considered by establishments when it comes to overseeing WHS during and after the coronavirus. 

 

 

Alert relevant authorities on COVID-19 cases 

 

Should there be a confirmed or possible COVID-19 case at your workplace, you need to notify the local WHS authorities regarding the case, which must be confirmed and diagnosed by a medical practitioner. 

 

Your infected – or possibly infected employee – should receive immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital. Follow the health advice in this regard. Meanwhile, for members of your workforce who have potentially come into contact with your infected worker, testing must ensue. 

 

Local government authorities must also be able to address all concerns on advice and assistance on matters linked to the pandemic. Your organisation, on the other hand, must be 100% compliant with implemented requirements to avoid exposure to unsuitable risks on health and safety. 

 

For instance, daily health checks are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of business response towards COVID-19. You can accomplish this with the assistance of a reliable WHS management system. 

 

You can program your WHS management software to directly deliver health checks to your staff, so they can complete their questionnaires swiftly and easily with their preferred device. Responses can be automatically collated and high-risk workers can be weeded out and sent to self-isolate or receive direct testing. They can also be subject to increased monitoring frequency. 

 

These capabilities of a work health and safety management system can help you identify positive cases within your workplace, which you will eventually report to local authorities. Additionally, it can help you keep tabs on high-risk individuals working in your company, so that you can anticipate the appropriate response that will ensure your staff’s safety and health. 

 

Implementing such technology can also be extremely helpful for future use, so it’s wise to browse EHS software solutions and compare features at this pressing moment. Once COVID-19 dies down, you can incorporate your WHS management software to your WHS procedures when it comes to addressing other viral health concerns within the workplace. Should there be another infection, you’re sure that your organisation is more equipped to handle the impending crisis.

 

 

Practice contact tracing if a staff member comes into contact with someone infected with COVID-19 

 

During this time of crisis, it’s time to take an active approach towards work safety. If one of the members of your staff has had close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19, it is imperative to direct him or her to self-quarantine, so that the virus will not spread in your workplace. It is also mandatory to supply significant information to contain the infection. 

 

Meanwhile, team members who are not classified as close contacts do not have to undergo quarantine; however, they should be attentive to the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 by continuously monitoring their health conditions. Once again, you can use your work health and safety management system to assist in conducting health checks and determining high-risk individuals.

 

Always ensure you follow health advice from government and WHS regulatory offices.

 

Additionally, the structure of WHS management system that you are implementing in your organisation should adhere to recommended social distancing and hygiene procedures. 

 

For instance, you can rely on your WHS management software to automate monitoring and auditing of day-to-day sanitation and maintenance tasks, so that you can see whether hygienic measures are being strictly enforced. 

 

You can also rely on your WHS management system to determine whether these processes have been effective in containing the virus and slowing down the spread of infection. 

 

The new structure of the WHS management system in the market should also include COVID-19 related functionalities such as compliance modules, inspection checklists, and survey forms. We’ll explain more of these in the succeeding point. 

 

 

 

Subscribe to a WHS management system to harness workflows, files and templates

 

Most WHS management software comes with pre-inputted health and safety workflows your workplace can choose from. This is one of the reasons why managers are introducing WHS software to their businesses

 

As the pandemic persists, providers have keyed in and updated these workflows to meet the demands of the current crisis. These workflows are drafted from legal policies, compliance standards and other relevant aspects related to WHS during the time of coronavirus. 

 

Alternatively, if you want to implement specific aspects that are tailored to your business when it comes to combating COVID-19, you can also create your own using your WHS management system. Safety Champion is one such example of a configurable system to fit your needs.

 

Once your organisation picks a workflow and designates it to a workplace, the team members assigned to execute the WHS program will receive a notification prior to and on the day the task is scheduled to be accomplished. If the WHS assignment has not been ticked with the platform, alerts will continue until it is completed, which guarantees that all WHS-related work is finished. 

 

As for recurring tasks like sanitation, which is highly applicable to the current situation brought by the global pandemic, they will be automatically rescheduled upon completion. Rescheduling will adhere to assignment frequency, which will be determined by the organisation’s management. 

 

Upon task completion, your work and health safety management system can also house any uploaded proof that showcases the fulfilment of an assignment or an inspection, which is very helpful when local authorities check your establishment for compliance. You can also show this documentation for future health and safety regulator visits after the pandemic. 

 

Should there be a need to answer to demands from bigger clients or tender applications, this documentation can also be supplied by the structure of WHS management system. All these complex processes and cumbersome work can be simplified with the appropriate tools supplied by your WHS management platform. 

 

 

Adapting to the new normal with firm WHS measures and powerful technology 

 

Most WHS management software in the market have now come up with new solutions that respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Considering urgency, these capabilities can be deployed instantly and without extra costs for companies. 

 

Safety Champion is no exception as it assists customers in overseeing COVID-19 risks and effects by introducing free new functionalities, templates, workflows, configuration bundles, which are all built on World Health Organization guidelines and standards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

 

We are currently offering solutions that help visualise, understand and address risks brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Reach out to us today to discuss how we can support you with your safety management and COVID-19 risk management planning.

 

Why it’s time to take an active approach to work safety

Now, more than ever, there’s mounting pressure on organisations of all kinds to take an active approach to managing their health and safety duties. It is certainly no longer possible for any business to ‘wing it’ or to ‘do it later’ when it comes to the safety of their people.

 

The global pandemic we are now living with won’t allow it.

 

For us, in the occupational health and safety (OHS, or also known as WHS) sector, we’re pleased to see the increased effort and focus businesses are taking when it comes to the health, safety and wellbeing of their workforce.

 

This is the kind of attention that we think protecting people from harm whilst they are at work has always deserved. 

 

 

The safety manager’s burden

Yet for the office managers, team leaders, OHS officers, safety team, business owners or anyone else trying to manage safety, work safety management is not always the easiest of ventures to wrangle. Often the people tasked with the duties of health and safety in a business aren’t always equipped with the best of resources to help them in this task.

 

Often we leave the ‘person’ responsible for safety with little more than spreadsheets, paper forms, email trails, and phone calls left unanswered. They need to fight for support and resources from management, and must constantly chase staff members for their input.

 

It can sometimes feel as though they are the only one who cares. Not only this, it can even unfairly place the burden of safety (or, the burden of safety gone wrong) on their single set of shoulders. This should never be allowed to happen.

 

 

Safety is a collective effort

It’s important to remember (or to learn if you don’t know) that everyone is in some part responsible for workplace health and safety. It cannot simply land on the shoulders of one person.

 

Everyone must play their role in keeping a workplace safe – for everyone else’s benefit.

 

This is too often forgotten. Leaders and managers often know they need to do something about work safety, so they task it to someone. This is fair – an OHS or WHS Professional is an expert in this kind of work. But what leaders and managers often forget is that they play a part too.

 

Safety must be encouraged and supported by leadership. This way, everyone in the team understands the importance and they will be motivated to get involved. They will understand it’s a collective effort.

 

 

Leadership in safety

It is imperative that senior management, leaders, business owners and any other duty holder are actively supporting a safety management program.

 

In fact, it is legislated that duty holders know what is happening and are taking active steps towards improve workplace health and safety.

 

What does this look like in practice? Here’s a few tips;

 

  • Keep safety management on the agenda – regularly talk about safety in team meetings (with all teams), feed results back to them, talk about priority areas in safety, and make sure everyone knows what role they play.

  • Make sure that the people who keep your safety program ticking along have appropriate resources to help them – like safety management software which allows them to plan the program, delegate important tasks, communicate vital safety related information effectively with workers, capture data, see trends, report back, and most importantly, improve things over time to reduce risk of harm to workers.

  • Check in with your safety management team on a regular basis. Review the reports they produce, discuss their challenges, and address what they need to protect your people. Make the time to do this, and you will vastly see things improve, whilst also actively upholding your legal duties.

 

 

Why now is the time for action

To be honest with you, it’s always been the time for action in safety. Because the physical and mental health of the people in your charge deserve to stay safe whilst they work. This is a fact. Everyone has a right to stay safe from harm at work.

 

But now presents itself as a good reminder to us all. We have see that the spread of the COVID-19 disease has often occurred in workplaces, as people come together to get on with their day job. So, it’s incredibly important that we all do something about this.

 

This is imperative not just so we comply with the law, but so we support the broader community around us.

 

 

Take an active approach to safety today by signing up to a 14 day trial of Safety Champion

 

 

So, if you haven’t already, it’s well and truly time for you to play your part. Not later, not next year, not when you have budget. Now.

 

 

Take action in safety today. A couple of ideas;

 

  • Make a meeting with your safety team or the people who do their best to keep it on track. Discuss how your safety management program is going and come up with a plan for improvement

  • Consider whether OHS professionals are needed – reach out to a consulting firm like actionohs.com.au if you need further assistance

  • Modernise your systems by getting safety management software in that will help you build a sustainable safety program. This doesn’t have to cost money – try our 100% free plan

  • Look at your data – what’s been happening in the past? Where are the places you can improve? If you don’t have any data to speak of, this is problem. Get started on tracking and documenting what is happening. Again, safety software can help.

  • Talk to the wider team. As we said before, everyone has a part to play. And this can mean that the people in your team will have good ideas for what is needed to improve WHS at your work. Listen to them and take note.

  • Don’t make the error of thinking that you have to work in a physical workplace to think about safety. Your responsibilities to protect the health and safety of your people are there whether you are working in a ‘workplace’ together, or all online working from home, or spread all over the world. Plus, don’t forget that this is not just about physical risks – think about mental health as well.

The list could go on – but this is good start.

 

To end, we wanted to say that it’s almost impossible to find a silver lining with such a terrible global pandemic. But here’s one to consider. The pandemic has brought attention to the great importance of keeping everyone safe and free from harm – at work or anywhere. Now is the time to work together to actively keep each other safe.

 

 

A brief overview of Industrial Manslaughter

What is Industrial Manslaughter?

In very simple terms, industrial manslaughter is a criminal offence which applies to employers or other duty holders following a breach of health and safety duties, that results in a death in a workplace.

 

Where are Industrial Manslaughter laws in place in Australia?

Starting from July 1, the “Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 – Workplace Manslaughter” will be passed into law in Victoria. There is similar legislation in place in Queensland and the ACT. It is expected that WA and the Northern Territory will fall in line also.

 

What are the penalties if convicted?

In Victoria, from July 1, the penalties for industrial manslaughter are significantly more serious than they were previously. If you are convicted under the industrial manslaughter legislation penalties may be imprisonment for up to 25 years (if a natural person), fines for an officer of a body corporate of up to $1.65 million, or fines for a body corporate of approximately $16.5 million.

 

 

Elements of the industrial manslaughter charge or conviction looks at:

  • whether there was negligent conduct;
  • whether there was a breach of a safety duty; and
  • whether the conduct and breach lead to the death of a person.

 

What can you do to avoid an industrial manslaughter offence?

We’re glad you asked! Well, in very simple and clear terms, the best way to avoid this kind of charge is to ensure you provide a safe workplace for all persons to which you have a duty to protect. That is, workers, contractors, freelancers, visitors, etc. Have an active and full safety management program, and ensure you can demonstrate the measures you have in place to keep everyone safe from harm.

 

If you choose not to get up to speed on what is happening in regard to workplace safety across your organisation, or to instigate steps to implement safety, then you increase your risk of being prosecuted for industrial manslaughter should someone be killed or seriously injured by the work you carry out.

Stephen Pehm, Senior OHS Consultant

 

Start with considering these key points;

  • Ensure all OHSMS policies and procedures, safe systems and programs of work are developed, implemented and reviewed
  • According to WorkSafe Victoria, if you are complying with the current laws, then you will be complying with this law
  • Adopt a proactive approach to safety
  • Educate senior leaders about the new laws
  • Most at risk will be Directors of companies who have a ‘hands on’ approach in the workplace
  • Review processes for serious incident notification (particularly those involving a fatality) to ensure:

 

  1. Employees dealing with the authorities are taking appropriate legal advice with respect to the broad obligations to provide information and answer questions (and penalties for non-compliance with those obligations), while considering
  2. Protection against self-incrimination (which will be a highly relevant consideration in the event of a workplace fatality)

 

That’s it in a very brief nutshell – but do see the below resources for more. Alternatively, reach out to us today to see how Safety Champion can play an integral role in your ability to provide a safe workplace for all and, importantly, avoid being implicated in industrial manslaughter.

 

Resources;

WorkSafe Victoria: Victoria’s new workplace manslaughter offences

AICD: States toughen WHS laws with new industrial manslaughter offences

Industrial manslaughter law – What you need to know

 

Innovation in the time of COVID-19

As many have said over the past few weeks, we are living in unprecedented times. Unprecedented not only for our team at Safety Champion and the tech sector at large, but indeed for all people around the globe in every single industry. COVID-19 presents challenges for all of us.

 

Indeed, COVID-19 means change. Change to process, people, parameters and procedures – both in the workplace and outside of it.

 

 

With change comes the need to be vigilant

It is important to recognise that where there is change, there is an increased risk and likelihood of human error and incidents.

 

This may be because things change at a rate that is too fast for us to effectively plan and manage the change. Or it may be that because things have changed in ways that we didn’t expect. Or it could even be that increased levels of stress related to the change can impact our ability to perform our roles in the way we used to.

 

Either way, a good approach is to recognise that with change there should be considered thought and planning put into how this change may impact all levels and elements of our business – even ones you don’t think are directly related.

 

 

Communication is key

Whilst high level planning and management is needed, this doesn’t mean much without effectively communicated the plan to your team.

 

Without strong communication in times of change and uncertainty, you will almost certainly see increased levels of anxiety, stress and concern in your team.

 

So, ensure that you are communicating what the changes are, what they mean to individuals and specific teams. This should be done often and consistently to reassure your team. It can be very important for people to know that their leadership team have ‘it’ all under control.

 

 

A time for innovation

But finally, some hope. As many may have read, it is in times like these, that great innovation occurs. Whilst it may be hard to see now, when we come out the other end, many businesses will flourish.

 

To be one of those businesses, we encourage everyone to use this time to reflect on current products, processes and ways of working – to improve and get better at it all.

 

Of course, we’d suggest you consider your workplace health and safety processes and tools. Are these under control? Are they performing as best they could? Is it time to consider a refresh, revamp, or a modernisation – perhaps to say, a safety software like Safety Champion?! 😉

 

Now is a forced time for us to get to those things that we have been meaning to get to, to tidy up those processes and documents, to kick off that big risky, but innovative, project that you think you and the team could pull off.

 

You don’t need luck. You have got this.

 

 

Don’t forget your people

As many of us scramble to respond to COVID-19, remember to consider both the safety and mental health risks associated with the decisions that are being made.

 

If you do have people working from home, our health and safety consultants have built an overview of things that you should consider. Rather than focusing solely on the workstation ergonomic setup, we have focused on what it means to be human and maintaining relationships when working from home.

Read this blog from our sister organisation, Action OHS Consulting

Our journey towards B Corp Certification

This week, we started our B Corp Certification Journey.

 

We sat down to complete the B Corp Impact Assessment tool to see how Safety Champion stacks up as a socially and environmentally responsible business. And, wow, what a process it was.

 

Not exactly easy or fast – the assessment really makes you see just how much we could all be doing in our workplaces to support the social and environmental health of business in general.

 

 

 

 

Now, you may be reading this wondering what a B Corp Certification is. If so, a brief description for you;

 

A B Corp Certification is a certification awarded to a business that meets and upholds the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability.

 

In other words, it’s for-profit business that pledges to balance profit and purpose, measuring and improving its impact on its workers and customers, and the community and environment around it.

 

 

Businesses you know that are already B Corps

Some fantastic, purpose-driven businesses are Certified B Corporations. Kathmandu, KeepCup, CultureAmp – to name a few.

 

It’s great to see so many Australian-based businesses like us finding their way into the list as well – including a few of our very own Safety Champion customers like T2!

 

certified b corp companies

 

 

Our purpose-driven work in health and safety

Now for us, as a health and safety company, we were feeling pretty confident as we set out to complete the assessment. We already feel like we have really clear purpose and make a positive contribution towards the wellness of others.

 

After all, it’s why we work in this industry in the first place. It’s in our DNA to support the businesses we work with, and each other, to be healthier and safer at work.

 

Plus, ethics plays a big role in our work as consultants. As Professional Members of the Australian Institute of Health and Safety we are duty borne to hold ourselves and our practices against the requirements of the Code of Ethics.

 

This places obligations on us to practice and work in an objective manner; follow recognised OHS principles as specified in the relevant federal or state/territory legislation; and realise the lives, health and welfare of individuals may be dependent upon our judgement.

 

 

Yet, was it enough?

As it turns out, we had to demonstrate more. To become a B Corp Certified business, it isn’t quite enough to simply work in an industry that already has social purpose.

 

What were we doing that was over and above? And what were we doing to really encourage positive change for our team members, our customers and elsewhere… that is, beyond our core service offering.

 

The impact assessment asked us about things like;

  • results from our employee engagement surveys,
  • how we give back to the community around us,
  • what environmental targets we have in place – and how we track them,
  • how transparent we are with financial information,
  • our policies and procedures,
  • and more. Yes – it’s a lot.

 

Established initiatives but more to go…

Thankfully, we found we were well on our well and scoring points in many places beyond our work in health, safety and wellbeing.

Based on the efforts we’ve gone to over the past year or so to establish more meaning, purpose and drive in our business, we had already set in place many of initiatives that help demonstrate we are a business that cares about people, planet, and profit.

 

A few of the areas that put us in good stead for certification;

  • We offer a 20% discount for non-profits listed on the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, so that they can utilise more of their funds on their purpose and cause

  • We developed a free safety software plan so that those in our community without the financial means can still access a fantastic tool to help keep their workers safer from harm at work

  • We regularly provide publicly available resources and advice to guide people towards success in safety – including monthly webinars, blogs, and guidance documents.

  • We’ve worked pretty hard establishing a clear mission, vision and values under which we work – along with supporting documents. We have documented Operational Manuals to provide clarity and transparency on our internal processes.

 

Whilst we haven’t yet submitted our formal application to become a B Corp yet, the results of the impact assessment let us know we’re in a good place to continue to this next step.*

 

Yes, we have some areas to work on to improve things here and there, but it wouldn’t be a strong certification without it.

 

*Correction Nov 2020: We’ve lodged our application!

 

Learn more about Certified B Corporations here: https://www.bcorporation.com.au/

Your duty of care when it comes to the safety of your contractors

Engaging contractors is an everyday part of business for many organisations. In some sectors – like retail, manufacturing, or construction for example – contractors can make up the larger portion of a workforce.

 

As such, it is important that people managers, HR teams or business owners are aware of their legal duties when it comes to contractors.

 

Who or what is a contractor?

At its simplest a contractor is a person who performs work under a service of contract for a set fee. The business engaging the contractor does not pay wages or superannuation or provide other benefits such as leave entitlements to the contractor.

 

Contractors will typically:

  • work at their own initiative to achieve a stated result as agreed with by the business that engages them.
  • be free to provide services to multiple clients.
  • have the option (often in agreement with the business that engages them) to delegate all, or some, tasks to another person – this is commonly referred to as sub-contracting.
  • be responsible for rectifying poor work at their own cost and effort.
  • provide their own tools and equipment to complete the agreed service.

 

In many respects, contractors retain a certain degree of independence from the business that engages them. Yet the extent to which this independence extends to workplace health and safety duties is worth a closer look.

 

If you need some help determining whether one of your workers is an employee or a contractor, take a look at the ATO Employee/Contractor Decision Tool for guidance.

 

 

Common misconceptions from businesses when it comes to contractors…

Many businesses misunderstand whether they have a duty of care towards the contractors they engage.

 

The health and safety legislation places a duty of care on businesses to provide a safe workplace for all workers and other persons in a workplace under its control. In addition, the legislation states that those “workers” extend past your employees. The legislation states that workers include anyone who carries out work for the business.

 

This means a worker can be an employee; a contractor or subcontractor, of the employee of a contractor or subcontractor; an employee of a labour hire company who works in the business; or an apprentice, trainee; work experience student; or a volunteer. It’s a long list!

 

At the same time the legislation clearly states that contractors have a duty of care towards their own employees and to everyone else at a workplace where they are working.

 

So, where and with whom does the buck stop?

 

The short answer to this question is – both. Both the business engaging the contractor, and the contractor itself have safety responsibilities. But how does this work in practice?

 

Take a 14-day trial to see how you can better manage contractors

 

 

How does this work in the real world?

 

Yes – it can be tricky to determine. Clear information about the scope of this responsibility can be hard to come by.

 

The business engaging the contractor is best to remember that it’s health and safety responsibility extends to contractors that they engage.

 

Irrespective of what practices the contractors have in place, the business engaging the contractor should keep in mind that it has a responsibility to maintain a safe and healthy working environment for everyone in your workplace, or impacted by your workplace operations. This is for everyone – your permanent staff, your freelancers, contractors, and even the people who come to visit.

 

Recent legal decisions confirm that contractors are responsible for understanding how to conduct their work safely, for which they have been engaged to undertake. This means that you don’t need to be an expert of their domain or stand next to them as they complete the job you have engaged them to do.

 

What practical measures can you take to ensure of a safe working environment for contractors?

 

As an employer it is expected that the following is done when engaging a contractor:

  • Clearly define the tasks a contractor is being engaged to undertake.
  • Determine if the contractor’s work is expert work over which the principal has little knowledge or control.
  • Identify how the contractor’s expertise will be confirmed e.g. evidence of licensing, accreditation.
  • Clearly assign responsibilities for expert work and risk management in contracts. Identify hazards associated with elements of the work controlled by the principal (employer) and implement risk controls for all persons including contractors.

 

When working with contractors it is useful to:

  • Induct them onto all worksites under the control of the business that has engaged them, and ensure they have access adequate first aid and emergency response equipment and procedures
  • Confirm that they have documented evidence that they are able to carry out their work safely
  • Request that they report all workplace related incidents and/or injuries as soon as practicable after they occur
  • Manage all contractors who breach safety rules (don’t instruct them how to work safely as this may result in exposure to increased risk).
  • Ensure that their insurance and licenses/qualifications remain current.

 

 

Using WHS software to help…

Safety software is a great way to help manage your duty of care when it comes to the safety of your contractors. You can use software to ensure that you have everything in place for a successful engagement with your contractors.

 

 

Safety Champion allows you to enter and manage all relevant details about your contractor in one central platform.

 

  1. Recurring safety tasks can be created and linked to the specific contractor. Examples of these may include (but not be limited to): internal audits, equipment checks (say tests tag) and Regular safety monitoring meetings.
  2. Contractors Insurances, Qualifications and Licenses can be managed using the Contractor and the Insurance Modules. Contractor details can be entered in the Contractor Module and their insurances and qualifications can be entered into the Insurance Module. Entries can then be linked for the Contractor to create recurring tasks specific for that Contractor.
  3. Contractor inductions can be managed.
  4. Contractor documentation and correspondence can be saved and monitored so you are ready when expiration dates are coming up.
  5. Contractor related reported incidents can be managed through the incident module – the Incident Module allows incidents to be reported and saved reports can be saved along with evidence relevant to that incident.
  6. Contractor Audits can be scheduled and completed on time.

 

Using Safety Champion effectively means that you can be assured that:

  • All information related to contractors engaged – like insurances and licenses – is up to date;
  • All incidents relating to contractor safely are being managed with real-time notification, and;
  • All correspondence relating to a contractor is in a centralised location.

 

Learn more about our features and modules today.

Managing Summer based hazards

Summer is here in the southern hemisphere! As such, organisations in which workers work outdoors or inside factories or sheds, should now be considering how they plan to manage the following when working outdoors this summer:

  • Heat Stress

  • Hydration

  • Ultra-Violet (UV) Radiation

 

 

What is Heat Stress?

Heat stress occurs when the body cannot sufficiently cool itself. Factors that contribute to heat stress in summer may include ambient temperature, humidity, air-movement, radiant heat, inappropriate clothing, and physical exertion.

 

Signs and symptoms of heat illness include feeling sick, nauseous, dizzy or weak. Workers who experience heat illness may also feel clumsy, collapse or experience convulsions. If symptoms occur, workers should immediately seek first-aid or medical assistance, rest in a cool and well-ventilated area, and drink cool fluids.

 

Workplace health and safety laws require the working environment, so far as is reasonably practicable, to be safe and without risks to health and safety. This includes illness from working in heat. Please note that whilst articulated in this article, heat stress can occur all year round in work environments where hot work takes place.

 

 

Ways to Prevent Heat Stress

Heat stress can be minimised through the consideration and if possible, implementation of several controls. These include:

 

  • Rescheduling tasks to ensure that tasks with a greater physical requirement are performed during the cooler parts of the day.

  • Identifying methods to rotate between hot jobs or arranging/skilling more workers to share the job.

  • Identifying, then procuring, mechanical aids (or plant) that may reduce physical exertion, or eliminate the requirement to work in the heat.

  • Wearing light and loose-fitting clothing (preferably cotton) that provides adequate sun protection. Outdoor workers should be provided with PPE against UV radiation, such as wide brim hat, loose fitting, long-sleeved collared shirt and long pants, sunglasses and sunscreen.

  • Providing fans or installing air conditioners or coolers to reduce air temperature and generate/increase air movement. Increased air movement will support evaporative cooling.

  • Installing shade cloth, blinds or similar to reduce the radiant heat from the sun.

  • Establishing defined rest and hydration breaks.

  • Providing workers with information, instruction and training on heat- illness and on first aid.

 

Don’t Forget about Simple Hydration!

Providing cool drinking water near the work site should limit symptoms of heat stress.

 

During hot weather, workers should be encouraged to drink a cup of water (about 200 mL) every 20 minutes. The need for water intake may also be determined by the worker by the colour of their urine.

 

 

Thought about safety software. Try our free plan!

 

 

 

Refresh your Memory on UV Radiation

UV Radiation is a known cause of cancer and can have several harmful effects on the skin.

 

Sun protection is required whenever the UV Index is 3 or higher, or when you are outside for long periods near highly reflective surfaces, e.g. snow or water.

 

The UV index describes the strength of the suns UV Radiation. The higher the number, the stronger the solar UV Radiation and the faster unprotected skin will be damaged.

 

If you work outside frequently, you should always use protective clothing including hats, sunglasses and sunscreen regardless of the UV Index. If you work outside occasionally, then you should use protection when the UV is 3 and above. A UV forecast for many locations is available from www.MyUV.com.au

 

A common misconception is that the temperature is directly related to the strength of the UV radiation. This is not the case. The takeaway? Don’t just wait for the hot day to protect your skin. The suns UV Radiation can still damage your skin in winter, autumn or spring.

 

For more on some of these topics, see our blogs on ways to avoid heat stress or about what kind of SPF rating you should be considering for your workers or even a little more info about hydration. Plus you might find our blog about Everything you need to know about Personal Protective Equipment a useful read.

Why keeping safety documentation up-to-date and accessible is a must

There are a number of benefits to keeping strong workplace safety documentation in place as a business. Not only does safety documentation ensure that you can demonstrate compliance with health and safety legislation, it can also save you and your team a great deal of time and frustration.

 

 

A key challenge facing business owners and managers

 

There is one main problem facing many organisations when it comes to safety documentation. It is challenging for businesses to keep track of documents as the business grows and evolves, or as staff change over time.

 

Documentation might be stored in different locations at different points in time. A variety of hard and soft copies of documentation might be in circulation at any one given time, current or older version. Regular reviews and updates of documents might fall off the radar. And communication of updated versions might fail to flow downstream to the staff that need the information the most.

 

All of this means that when it comes time to access or review such documentation, the business spends more time trying to figure out the state of things, and less actually working on improvements to documentation and systems for the sake of everyone’s health and safety! And no one wants that.

 

Should a serious incident or injury occur, you will be required to provide evidence to a safety regulator that you have effective health and safety workplace systems in place. At this point, your ability to supply documentation becomes very important. It can show that you comply with relevant safety legislation, and that you are actively doing what you can to make things safer for your people.

 

Needless to say, copies of documents, stored in a folder, in head office, on that dusty shelf, that no one ever really uses anymore, isn’t doing anyone any favours. This is especially true if you are working across multiple sites. If you have documentation, you need to make sure its current, accessible, and digestible.

 

 

Make documentation easy to access for your workers

 

So, we know that simply having documentation is not enough. People must first know it exists and be able to use it!

 

Regardless of the type and extent of health and safety documentation that you have available in your workplace, keeping it readily accessible to your workers is of paramount importance. If your workforce or any other interested party can’t access the documentation, no one wins.

 

On the other hand, if people can, and do, access relevant and current safety documentation this supports your legislative compliance. Additionally, easy access to documentation for workers, supervisors and managers will improve workplace efficiency.

 

When you roll out standardised and consistent training on the relevant workplace safety procedures, your ability to streamline and tighten your operations and output improves. So not only should you think about making the documentation accessible, but also think about how you communicate it. Training sessions, team meetings, or a quick stand up meeting at the beginning of every month.

 

Learn what’s included in our 100% free software plan

 

 

A best practice approach to WHS documentation management

 

Consistent with Australian and International Standards, best practice for managing safety documentation is with version control and periodic reviews. Documentation should be established with a revision period in mind (e.g. two or three times yearly) and should be marked with dates or version numbers for tracking purposes and ease of administration.

 

It’s important to remember that whilst periodic reviews should occur on a regular basis appropriate to your needs, they should also occur when major changes occur in your organisation. Such changes might be new business operations, unexpected periods of growth, shifts in staffing or job functions, or changes in management.

 

During such periods of change, safety considerations are commonly forgotten. But when big changes occur in your business, it is more than likely there will be flow on effects to your safety management system.

 

It’s at times like these that workplace health and safety should always be on the agenda. Current systems, processes, and documentation must be reviewed to ensure that safety stays on track and in accordance with your goals and legislative duties.

 

Finally, it is a good practice to ensure that safety documentation is stored in a safe and secure manner to prevent modification without organisational-level visibility. This speaks to the legislative duty that any business owner or person in charge must be aware of safety practices in their organisation.

 

 

Secure online storage for easy access and history of evidence

 

A secure, easy-to-use solution for better safety documentation management is utilising the Documents Module in Safety Champion Software. This module enables any organisation to easily upload, review and update their safety documentation. Plus it makes documentation super easy to access.

 

You can set up a revision period and keep version control, under control by saving new versions of documentation and archiving old versions. Email reminders will let you know when your documents are up for review. This is incredibly useful when it comes to health and safety legislative compliance.

 

Furthermore, this module allows different documentation types to be shared with specific groups in your organisation, or with everyone. You can ensure that safety documents are shared with users based on their level of seniority in the business, their job role or their function.

 

Plus, being a cloud-based software, your team can access these important documents from any location or work site, via any electronic device including a laptop, tablet or smart phone device. This means that when your team needs the information, they can get it. No need to slow down productivity, and no need to wait for HR to get back to their desk.

 

Read more about our Documents Module

 

But possibly one of the best features of Safety Champion – and one you won’t find in alternative software products on the market – is the fact that Safety Champion assigns safety tasks to a team or a group in your organisation and not to a person. This means, that if the person responsible for a safety tasks moves to another role or leaves the business, your safety tasks keep ticking along.

 

The system architecture keeps everything in place for you so that you never need to worry about safety tasks – like reviewing documentation – being forgotten again.

 

Get the OHS information you need any time, anywhere.

 

 

Total peace of mind with Safety Champion

 

Safety Champion’s Documents Module allows any business owner, people manager, team leader or human resources representative the peace of mind they are after.

 

Imagine being able to update that document, load it into the system, and feel confident knowing that your team, wherever they are – a suburb away on site, interstate, or even in another country – have most up-to-date and accurate safety information possible.

 

Safety Champion really is the easy and efficient way to manage safety documentation.

 

If you are keen to learn more, reach out to us and one of our customer experience team members will be in touch soon.

 

 

How to be a safety champion

The word champion can be one of the most powerful words in the modern era.

 

(No wonder we named our awesome and very powerful safety software after it!)

 

We hear it repeated often and, in many contexts – like sport, business and politics – and across many forms of media and advertising.

 

So popular is this word that the noun has become the verb – we ‘champion’ specific causes!

 

 

The Cambridge Dictionary defines a champion as “a person who enthusiastically supports, defends, or fights for a person, belief, right, or principle”.

 

 

But what does it take to be a champion? More specifically, what are the qualities of being a champion that us ‘Ordinary Joes’ can apply on an everyday basis to make workplaces safer?

 

There are many quotes which have been uttered by sports persons, businessmen and politicians about what it takes to be a champion.

 

Perhaps these can best be summarised by the ‘championship qualities’ defined by sports journalist, best-selling author and business coach Don Yaeger.

 

 

A champion in the eyes of business coach Don Yaegar

Don developed his list based on interactions with sports and business champions over 15 years as a sports journalist and business coach.

 

  • Having contagious enthusiasm

  • Always being prepared, even in ‘off-season’

  • Visualising victory

  • Using adversity as fuel

  • Acting and reacting with careful consideration

  • Knowing how to adjust their game plan, quickly, when the unexpected occurs

  • Being willing to take on whatever role is necessary for the team to win

 

Don calls a person a champion when they know what needs to be done, and when they do what needs to be done, no matter how seemingly beneath him or her it might be.

 

In essence, a safety champion ‘walks the walk’, knows the power of networking, is always prepared, and never gives up.

 

 

A champion for workplace safety

 

We often talk about safety champions when it comes to health and safety. It’s a common phrase. So common, it’s the theme of National Safe Work Month 2019.

 

And we all have a sense of who those people are. They are the ones that really go all out with OHS to make sure we are all safe at work.

 

Need a safety software? Try our 100% free plan

 

They are the ones chasing up the tasks, making sure we are all reporting what we need to, putting up the signs around the office, and generally showing their support for workplace safety so we all go home safe at the end of the day.

 

But how can you be a workplace health and safety champion? Well, from a consultant point of view, we’d suggest you adopt a few or all of these principles and bring them into your business as usual.

 

  • Apply quality principals ie having a prevention focus with a continuous improvement approach.
  • Be an exemplar in working safely – always being on ‘display’, even when no one is watching.
  • Show respect for others in calling out and responding appropriately to unsafe behaviours. Knowing why the behaviour is unsafe will make this easier.
  • Ensure you provide or have access to safety knowledge with regards to risk management which is evidence based. The safety conversation will be easier if evidence for the proposed course of action is presented.
  • Be a good communicator! Communication (a key part of consultation) forms a cornerstone of modern safety legislation. To communicate effectively takes considerable skill. Coming up with new and interesting ways to present the ‘same old’ message is challenging.
  • Always being enthusiastic in all matters relating to safety. Enthusiasm for safety is a major contributor to effective communication.
  • Be aware as to where safety fits in with the big picture without compromising vision and belief.
  • Believe in the importance of eliminating workplace harm while acknowledging that zero harm may be unrealistic (the ‘higher power’?) and being able to visualise what a safe workplace looks like.
  • Acknowledge that emergent conditions can quickly escalate risk and prepared for and able to respond to all eventualities.

 

4 simple points to follow

Ok, ok. Maybe that was all a little too much. But don’t despair! Generally, being a safety champion in the workplace can be as simple as being actively engaged in your safety program.

But we have four neat points that anyone – no matter their position in the workplace – can take on board for a great safety culture.

 

  1. Ensure that you and your team have all the tools and skills needed to work safely.

  2. Report unsafe work situations or workplace incidents even if you are not directly involved.

  3. Walk the ‘safety’ walk. Follow the rules just as you’d expect everyone else to.

  4. Participate actively in relevant discussion and action to improve safety at work.

Try sharing these ideas with your team. These can be gold when it comes to building a stronger safety culture at your work.

 

If everyone in the workplace strives to follow these four simple principles above, it will be far more likely that safety will improve. Plus, if bring in some professional safety consultants to guide your safety program and a WHS software tool like Safety Champion, you will be well on your way to keeping everyone at work safer and healthier.

 

Of course, an entire workplace of safety champions is even better than one! Go for gold on that and get everyone on board!

Launching the first 100% free safety software plan of its kind

*GO FREE plan is now known as Safety Champion Light.

 

Today, we are thrilled, excited, and maybe a little nervous too, to launch our big news. Safety Champion now has the first 100% free, comprehensive safety software product on the market.

 

Our GO FREE plan allows anyone, in any organisation, to access our platform to manage their health and safety management system free. We don’t ask for credit cards and this is not a free trial period that will end in a month. It’s free, forever.

 

 

A free safety solution to break through the barriers

In our line of work, we see many organisations – small and large – struggle getting the resources or finances together to manage safety well.

 

It’s not that the people in these organisations don’t want to keep the people in their team safe from harm. Quite the opposite.

 

It’s just that health and safety has a perception of being complex and just ‘too hard’. This often acts as a barrier that prevents organisations from better engagement with stronger safety practices. And we see this as a real shame.

 

So, with our free workplace safety software, any organisation wishing to boost their safety management practices can do so. Without concern over having the resources or the money to put behind it.

 

 

 

Go right ahead and sign up today

 

 

Choose to go free, to free yourself up some time

In fact, the system saves you time. No more messy spreadsheets. No more chasing people up to complete that incident form. No more paper-based filing. And no need for that catastrophe meeting you have when you realise safety has dropped off the radar completely!

 

Safety Champion’s GO FREE plan frees you up to get to other important things in your business.

 

Through the system, you will be able to;

 

  • seamlessly manage the essential components of your safety program.

  • report incidents, report hazards, and complete inspections on your phone or computer.

  • plan out recurring tasks, set notification emails, and assign tasks to your team.

 

safety champion free health and safety software for all organisations to access for free

The clean and clear interface of Safety Champion’s GO FREE version.

 

The first of its kind

Following on from other ‘greats’ in the SaaS (Software as a Service) industry – like Dropbox and MailChimp – we thought it was time to bring a free software product to the health and safety industry.

 

This free plan allows you access to more than one module – in fact many! – with more than one user. So you can manage all of the essential components of your full health and safety program in one system.

 

We think a free ohs software solution is just what the industry needs to get safety on the agenda in more workplaces, and improve uptake of strong safety practices.

 

Learn what’s included in our free plan

 

 

Be a Safety Champion this National Safe Work Month

We are incredibly proud to have launched this product – especially in Safe Work Month – when “Be a Safety Champion” is the tagline. Imagine our surprise when we learned about that tagline whilst preparing to launch this offer!

 

Now, everyone has the means to be a safety champion in their workplace.

 

What’s included then?

  • 4 awesome modules – incident, action, inspections, planning!

  • 2 unique user accounts

  • Access to our IOS and Android Apps

  • Templates to copy

  • Great guidance from our online tutorials

 

 

It’s pretty clear to see the benefits. So, sign up today!

How to safely manage hazardous chemicals in your workplace

Bad luck or bad planning?

It’s often easier to figure out what happened and why after a chemical incident has occurred. A couple of seemingly unrelated events combine to produce an explosion, a chemical spill and/or worse case an injury.

 

You think –

“If only the regular operator had not been sick that day”
“If only the waste oil drum had been emptied on Monday when it was scheduled”
“If only the new operator had used the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)”

 

Then, this incident would not have happened.

 

But, can you fight bad luck with good planning? The simple answer is yes!

 

 

So, what does this look like?

I hear you say –

“I have a chemical register, current Safety Data Sheets (SDS), suitable PPE and have assigned a person to manage the chemicals at our workplace”.
“I have also provided training to employees”
“So what more can I do?” 

 

Yes, you have the right information, but have you applied it in an effective way?

 

 

Is your chemical management system active or redundant?

Assigning the administration of the chemical management system to an employee and knowing what chemical products you have is actually not quite enough. 

 

You also need visibility of the ingredients of those products. Along with the specific hazards associated with the use, handling, storage and transportation so that you can identify and assess the risks and how these can be effectively managed.

 

 

Too often, information on chemical hazards is known only to a few employees and SDS folders and registers are left sitting on a shelf, forgotten and gathering dust. Managing hazardous chemicals involves everyone in your business – No observers allowed!

Elaine McGuigan – OHS Consultant

 

 

So, you have a safety program in place but you must remember that this is not the same as making sure your employees understand and can adequately handle the risks associated with hazardous chemicals in your workplace.

 

Is it enough to make sure a few employees understand the risks of hazardous chemicals?

No, the risks must be understood and communicated to all employees in a way that they can understand. Train your employees thoroughly and tailor the training to their level of education, it may take extra time to present in this manner, but they will remember it.

 

What’s some quick advice for consideration?

Information and awareness of the dangers of hazardous chemicals is the key to good planning. 

For example –

  • Have you undertaken a hazard analysis and taken the time to write down the risks associated with the use, handling, storage and transportation of your chemicals?
  • Have you taken into account your entire operation, the equipment you use, the workers who interact with these and how they all interact with each other? 
  • Have you considered the worst incident that can happen and how likely is it to happen?

 

Go beyond listing the dangers of each individual chemical and look at the hazards and risks from a whole of business perspective. Consider your neighbours, the community, the environment, your emergency plan and how you manage the introduction of new chemicals into your workplace.

 

A good chemical management system makes it impossible to overlook the way these things are interrelated because it requires input from your entire operation.

 

 

Learn from your mistakes following an incident where no real harm has been done. Rather than ignoring it and getting on with the job, investigate the direct and indirect causes (i.e. the contributing factors) and implement corrective actions to prevent the same thing from happening again.

 

How does safety software allow you to manage chemicals better?

Resources to effectively manage safety programs – including hazardous chemical management – are often stretched to the maximum. This is where safety software such as Safety Champion can help. 

 

Safety Champion has a dedicated Chemical Management Module which can make a big difference. The Chemical Module can;

  • be used to track multiple hazardous chemicals, across multiple workplaces
  • provide employees with immediate access to up-to-date SDSs
  • be access from any desktop, tablet or smartphone – even through our safety app!

 

Yes, there is still work to do but in using a safety software to help manage your chemical management program it is active, and no longer redundant. It now belongs to the workplace and not an individual. Phew. It’s no longer gathering dust on some forgotten shelf. 

 

Is workaholism a real thing?

Have you ever called someone else or perhaps yourself a workaholic? Well despite it often talked about in a jovial manner, workaholism is actually a real thing. Sometimes considered by psychology and sociology academics as a behaviour-based addiction or compulsion, it is something that has been found to afflict pretty high portions of some populations, especially in western culture.
You might be surprised to hear that there’s even such a thing as Workaholics Anonymous for those who need help, akin to Alcoholics Anonymous or AA.
Workaholism occurs when someone is driven or motivated to work at an uncontrollable or overpowering level. But, it’s also a little more than this. Workaholics spend so much time, effort and energy on work that it starts to impact their relationships, family life, extra-curricular activities and even their health.
Some of the negative physical and psychological outcomes of workaholism are depression, burnout, poor health, life dissatisfaction, and relationship problems.

 

Given these pretty high stakes, it’s important for leaders and managers to know a little about what kind of workplace fosters workaholism. After all, it’s both a legal and moral responsibility for leaders to ensure that workers are safe and healthy in the workplace.

 

It’s no secret that our modern workplace culture is now set by technological advancements, continuous connectivity to the office, and increased pressure on organisations to remain competitive and efficient. But it’s these kinds of things that can urge us to feel like we must work harder and faster.
A 2014 report from The Australia Institute revealed that work-life balance has been declining in recent years, with the many feeling pressure to work longer hours to keep up. And, unsurprisingly, work-life imbalance has been found to be correlated with workaholism.
The great news is that we can change the nature of our workplace environments to avoid the likelihood of workaholism taking hold. Studies have found that a competitive workplace, a culture of overwork, performance comparisons between colleagues, and high job performance demands are all factors that may contribute to workaholism.
So, if you have any of these things bubbling away at your workplace and you think it might be negatively contributing to the health of your people, perhaps it may be time to rethink things.
And certainly supporting some healthy workplace initiatives coming up like ‘RUOK Day’ in September, ‘Ride to Work Day in October, or ‘Go Home on Time Day’ in November, will help cultivate the kind of culture that supports a fit work-life balance for your people.
Let’s make better, healthier and safer workplaces so that we can enjoy our time outside of work as well. Go team!

Read more about mental health and wellbeing at work:

5 things we do to keep our team happiness level on a high!

What on earth is psychological safety?

The Juggler Part 4: 8 things you can do today to get action on safety

As you know through our Juggler series so far, the Juggler really is the ‘safety champion’ of many small or medium sized enterprises. But just like any champion out there, sometimes the Juggler might get stuck, lose motivation or veer off track.

So, Jugglers, here’s a little blog to help you get you on the right path, or stay on track if you are already there. Our 8 sure-fire ways to get action on safety in your workplace – starting today!

Not sure what we mean by the Juggler? Check out this blog.

 

1. Understand your organisation.

What sort of people do you work with? Have they been active in safety before? And if not, how do you think they could be motivated to engage in safety. Think about what makes them and the organisation as a whole tick.

2. Access training and guidance resources.

There are many resources you can access to skill up in safety. As a start, try downloading our free Health and Safety 101 course. It will step you through a good way to approach safety – even if you don’t have any current processes in place at all. We even let you in on some of the best free resources out there in episode 3. For more formal training information – see our blog Part 3 – The Juggler

3. Consult your colleagues.

Work with your colleagues and managers to discover what the big risks areas have been in the past. Investigate all injuries that have happened in the past. Then you can start to understand why they happened, and act on preventing them from happening again.

4. Have a plan.

Engage your boss in this step and ensure they are supporting your plan with safety. When your leader is on board – and actively encouraging the same from the whole team – safety becomes that much easier. As a part of this, make a list and agree on all the things that your workplace does, to prevent people from getting hurt – so completion can be monitored, and activities identified as important are not forgotten. This may include maintenance, training, meetings, inspections, etc.

5. Keep everyone informed.

Ensure that all your colleagues understand they are responsible for workplace safety, not just you. Encourage them to manage safety in their area and set up formal and informal opportunities for workers to resolve issues. And importantly, keep everyone up to date on how ‘we’ – as a team improving safety together – are travelling.

6. Monitor your plan.

Check in on your safety plan on a regular basis to ensure that things are getting done. An online Safety Management System with an easy overview dashboard display will make things a heap easier. Try ours 😉

7. Report back to management.

Create simple reports that you can share with your leadership team so that they understand what is going on with safety. This is a great way to see where you can improve, and to put your case forward for getting access to resources that will help you fill any gaps and keep things even safer. Report in the incidents that have occurred, suggestions that have been provided by the “team” or reporting back on “the things that your workplace does, to prevent people from getting hurt” – see point 4 above. Importantly, report back on your plan.

8. Check in with a professional.

It’s certainly a good idea to check in with a safety professional every so often to ensure that you are on track, in compliance with the legislative requirements, and doing the best you can to keep people at your workplace safe.

 

That’s it in a nutshell. These eight things really will make managing safety, amongst the rest of your workload, a lot easier. Hope it helps!

 

 

_______

Check out the other blogs in “The Juggler” blog series:

Part 1 – Who is the Juggler

Part 2 – Show your support to the Juggler

Part 3 – Training the Juggler

 

We’re offline!

But it’s not what you think! This isn’t a system upgrade. Our software is still up and running 24/7, as usual. But we’re pleased to say, we are the kind of offline that some businesses out there really need when it comes to safety.

 

These days, it’s all about being online; bringing your business processes online, and staying online 24/7. It’s certainly true that more and more businesses come to us wanting to shift their safety processes online, so they can experience all the benefits that come with it. (And there are many, of course; access to your full safety system anywhere any time, capacity to share information, worldwide, instantaneously, etc., etc.)

 

But there are times when offline functionality is pretty important too. Times when your workforce may not have access to mobile data, or wifi. You know, those times when your phone doesn’t have a signal? This may be associated with work in remote locations, or just times where there is an unstable internet connection. Additionally, it may be times where the signal is just dead, and we are all sure to be familiar with some of those spots! In short, not having a signal, is more frequent than we realise (or would like to accept).

 

So, that’s why we ensured that the Safety Champion Mobile App works offline, not just online.

 

So, that’s why we ensured that the Safety Champion Mobile App works offline, not just online. We wanted to ensure that all Safety Champion users can report incidents or hazards, conduct inspections, find or “do” JSA’s or SWMS, and access procedures, manuals or Safety Data Sheet’s at the time they need, rather than being a servant to the signal. It works like this:

 

  • Offline functionality allows the user of the Safety Champion App to access and use all functions without a signal, a network or wifi connectivity.
  • The user can input data or information into the app – such as reporting a hazard (including taking a photo) – just as an online user can.
  • When the user comes back online, all the information and attachments are automatically uploaded into Safety Champion.

 

Pretty neat, hey? We think so. ;0)

 

So, whilst being online brings great things for your business (and ours), offline access is also important. So your workforce can have ready access to your safety program at all times.

 

We advocate hard for bringing your safety process online and doing this with Safety Champion. Why? Because we want everyone to be safer at work, and we know that improved systems deliver this. But we also understand that sometimes, it’s not all about online, online, online. We know that there will be times that you worker will not have a signal, or may not have easy access to mobile-data or wifi. Rather than saying “too bad”, we built Safety Champion to support these occasions.

 

Need offline functionality? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. The Safety Champion Mobile App is available from the Google Play Store, or through your Safety Champion consultant.

safety champion mobile app safety inspections incident reporting hazard reporting app Google Play for Android

Safety Champion a proud partner of Australian Government’s Digital Champions initiative

We’re pleased to announce our partnership with the Australian Government’s Department of Jobs and Small Business as a corporate partner for their new initiative.

 

Launched earlier this year, the Small Business Digital Champions initiative will assist 100 small businesses around the country to revolutionise their businesses using the power of technology.

 

“When small businesses are digitally engaged, they are 50 per cent more likely to be growing revenue, eight times more likely to be creating jobs, seven times more likely to be exporting, and 14 times more likely to be innovating new products or services 1.”

 

In collaboration with Deloitte, through guidance from a list of high-profile mentors (see mentors here), and alongside the support of tech corporate partners, like Safety Champion, the chosen Small Business Digital Champions will embark on a year-long digital transformation.

 

With tech solutions offered by in-kind supporters the businesses will be set to boost their productivity, reach, and effectiveness by adopting digital solutions, at various levels of their businesses.

 

The team at Safety Champion very much look forward to assisting these small businesses to embed our simple, smart technology within their business processes to make the digital management of safety the norm.

 

For more about the Australian Government’s Small Business Digital Champions Initiative go to, https://www.jobs.gov.au/corporate-partners

4 reasons why bringing safety online is smarter sooner rather than later.

So, you’re thinking about bringing your safety program online. Fantastic! Of course, we’re going to say that, being a cloud-based safety software business. But our safety consultant brains also say the same, regardless of which safety software you choose to bring on board.

 

Why? Because whether it’s Safety Champion Software or another, online safety software systems can keep your safety program humming. And as health and safety consultants, we see this. One of the most common issues we hear from the businesses that we work with, is requests for ways, that they can keep their safety program on track.

 

 

After identifying what good safety practices look like for a business, the challenge is often how does the business establish a way to ensure that the relevant people perform the assigned activities, when scheduled?

– Craig Salter

Action OHS Consulting Director & Safety Champion Founder

 

 

Seriously, your safety program can see real and lasting benefits from streamlining your safety procedures with a cloud-based safety system to keep everything scheduled, ticking along, and improving at the same time.

 

 

 

Here’s a 4 reasons why it’s good for your business to bring safety online sooner rather than later:

 

The sooner you start, the sooner you can capture your data.

We hear it all the time these days. Data-driven approaches, actionable insights, meaningful data analytics… these are all terms that float around our professional circles daily, regardless of your line of work. But seriously, data – more specifically, the data you collect in your own organisation, that aligns with your own challenges, your own needs – can really help you improve your safety program. Imagine if you could see trends in the types of incidents that were reported over the last 6 months at a simple click of a button. Or if you could see which department was lagging in terms of tasks completed over the last quarter, or you could see which task were generally harder to complete, so you could contextualise some training to assist.

These kinds of insights can be pivotal to ensure you are spending time, money and resources in the right areas – the areas that will really help increase the safety of your people.

The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll save money.

Let’s cut straight to the chase. Think about the number of hours you or your people spend trying to keep safety on track; reminding people to perform that safety task; following up on the paperwork for that reported incident or corrective action; chasing up the last time your workers completed that training, looking through the filing cabinet for the record of that certification; or, preparing reports for departments, regions or the organisation, etc., etc. Well, all that time means money. And all that time could be used for more important things like “doing safety” rather than “doing admin”.

Online safety software – when it’s done right – with save you a crazy amount of time as automated reminder emails are sent to the relevant stakeholders to remind them of upcoming task, whilst at the same time escalating notifications to management if tasks are not completed; all records are a click away and can be accessed in no time, ready for easy download; pre-programmed workflows allow real-time visibility of the status of your safety program to management, ensuring that your safety program is managed both now and in the future; or, reporting is always available, in real-time and most importantly accurate– nothing forgotten. Given our software generally offers a payback period of between 6 and 10 months, it’s clear that online safety software will save you time, concern, worry and importantly money.

 

Furthermore, as a manager, how do you monitor implementation, without creating unnecessary administration, or moving down a pathway of micro-management?’

– Craig Salter

Action OHS Consulting Director & Safety Champion Founder

 

 

The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll know what’s going on.

We don’t mean to scare people when we say this, but as a business owner or person in charge, you have a legal duty to provide a safe workplace for your people and anyone who visits your workplace. And when reviewing the legislation more closely, it’s clear that you must have current knowledge of the safety hazards in your workplace; and be able to demonstrate what you are actively doing to mitigating the risk associated with those hazards.

So, safety software doesn’t only make sure that things tick along, it gives business owners and managers clear, real-time oversight of the whole safety program, whenever, wherever. So, since it’s a legal requirement that you know what’s going on, should the Safety Regulator come knocking, a cloud-based safety software system is just the thing to give you a one-stop-shop to: direct, review and oversee your entire safety program.

The sooner you start, the sooner your people will thank you.

Trust us. They will thank you. They are sick and tired of trying to get people enthused about completing safety tasks, following the procedures, or keeping up with their owning training and documentation. They are also over how hard it is to let the right people know that there is a safety hazard that really needs to be addressed, and today. “Who do I tell? Where is the form again?”. “Why should I bother telling them, last time they did nothing”.

Thankfully, online safety software systems have been designed to make things easier, faster, communicate more broadly, and be more streamlined for everyone involved. It’s easier for the people behind your safety program, for you, and for the people that your safety program is there to protect – all workers and visitors! Safety Champion, for one, is a system we made specifically to simplify the process so that it will no longer be a chore to get involved in safety, it will be something that simply becomes ‘what you do’ – business as usual! Just imagine.

 

So, if after reading this, you want to get an online safety management software system up and running sooner rather than later, contact us. We’d love to take you through ours – we’re darn confident it’ll help.

A simple 5-step process to your safety management system…

We’re not going to beat around the bush. There’s the long-winded, jargon-clad explanation for how important safety management systems are, why you need them, the health and safety legislative requirements you have as a business owner, your moral obligations, etc, etc. And all that stuff is true. But there’s also a simpler and more straightforward way of looking at it. That is –

 

A safety management system is just an elegant name for what your business actually does to manage and mitigate safety risks to your people at work.

 

That’s it. Pretty clean and clear now right?

 

And we’d argue that it’s important to break it down into this simplistic way of looking it, and keeping this in mind as you build out and improve your safety management system.

 

Why? Because – without knowledge of what good can look like, safety just has a special way of becoming very complex and complicated within businesses as they try to do more and the more to address things – we see it time and time again. When actually, the reality is, that if you manage and mitigate the safety risks effectively, you’ve nailed it.

 

So, how do you manage and mitigate the safety risks effectively in a comprehensive and effective safety management system? Here’s a nice clear process:

 

1. COMMIT TO IT –

This is first on the list because, quite frankly, without the explicit commitment from management teams to any safety efforts, no matter how good the intention was, it never really quite works. So commit to it and, importantly, show your commitment to your people at every level and often.

 

2. PLAN IT –

Think about all the things you want to address when it comes to the health and safety of your people. Write it down. If you don’t know what you want to address – ask your team! Or start with common injuries and hazards for your industry – read this blog. Then when you’ve got a pretty robust and comprehensive list, prioritise the issues, putting the most hazardous first and determine how and when you will address these.

 

3. DO IT –

It can be tricky to ensure the implementation of your plan happens, and continues to happen – this is why you should write it down. It is likely that you’ll need to delegate tasks, provide deadlines, and make sure your people are trained, ready and willing. Read more on how to encourage greater buy in from your team here.

 

4. CHECK IT –

Set up regular check-ins to make sure you are on track with your plan. This part is about monitoring what you’ve done, looking at the data, and evaluating how well you did. Or even whether you can do it better another way next time.

 

5. DO IT AGAIN –

You’ve likely heard of the continuous improvement cycle when it comes to safety management systems? Well this is that integral part to it all. You must repeat this process over and over again. This is simply because things change at work – the hazards may change, your people may change, the legislation may change, etc. Remember there is always something you can improve upon when it comes to health and safety.

 

To be perfectly honest with you, a safety software like Safety Champion was made (quite literally) for this kind of thing – to help you to keep the planning, doing and checking of your safety management system on track and moving effortlessly. We promise it’ll help. It will make your safety program effortless (compared to the alternative), efficient and sustainable.

 

Remember, if you get lost – just keep bringing it back to this; “What we are really trying to do is manage and mitigate risk to people in our workplace.” That’s it. Keep it at the forefront of everything you do and you’ll be in a good place.

 


 

Looking for more detail on Safety Management Systems? Review our past blogs:

Safety Management Systems: A comprehensive overview

 

The [very real] value of an effective incident reporting system

Any safety professional or scholar will tell you one of the core components of an effective safety management system is taking on a participatory approach[1]. Why is this so important? Because it’s your workers themselves who will likely be coming across safety hazards and risks in your workplace as they go about their day-to-day work.

 

And since they are the ones you’re liable to protect from harm, it’s a good idea to hear what they have to say, and to encourage them to actively participate in your safety management system.

 

One important way your people can and should participate in your safety management system is through the regular and accurate reporting of incidents. This includes everything from ‘near miss’ incidents – read our blog on what those are here if you are unsure – through to the more serious incidents that we all wish never happened.

 

Isn’t it a bad thing if my staff are reporting incidents?

You may think it’s a negative thing to encourage your people to report incidents regularly. And you may worry that having many reported incidents may reflect poorly on your business. But – trust us – encouraging regular incident reporting is in fact a very, very good thing.

 

This is because effective incident reporting processes will ensure that you receive very real, relevant and valuable data – specific to your workplace – about the hazards that have the potential to cause harm to your workers, and any visitors to your workplace.

 

And this data can be used to help you know what to focus on when it comes to making your workplace safer. Which is exactly what you are tasked to do under the health and safety legislation. Plus, having a solid and demonstrable incident reporting system or process in place is also a requirement of the legislation.

 

There is real value in having an effective incident reporting system that all of your staff can actively participate in. Data from the incident reports will guide you to the hazards are that you should be addressing, and advise if current controls you have in place might be falling short in effectively reducing risks.

 

It will inform you of the real operational hazards, rather than the ‘hazards as imagined’ in the office.

 

Review our plans – all inclusive of easy incident reporting!

 

 

What about my legal requirements with incident reporting?

And legally speaking, it is a requirement for you to have an incident reporting system to collect and collate your incident data, so that you can identify trends over time. This becomes powerful when you can start to dive into what’s really going on in specific work areas or departments within your business; age- or work-history profiles of you workers; or root causes.

 

This kind of data analysis and reporting will actually help you step back from the management and investigation of single incidents and see the bigger picture. And it’s this bigger picture that can help guide your whole safety management system towards reducing the number of incidents, reducing the severity of incidents, and boosting the overall impact of your safety management system.

 

It can support the procurement of new equipment, or ensure procedures are review more meaningfully.

 

 

Needless to say, Safety Champion Software can assist you with both an easy-to-use and customisable incident reporting form that everyone in your business can use, and powerful reporting so that you can gain insights from incident reporting trends. Take photos when reporting on your phone at the incident site and upload attachments at will.

 

 

Contact us if you would like to hear more or check out our incident reporting module. We have developed our incident reporting module so that you can customise your own questions and response fields, so you won’t need to give up on that content that is super specific and important to you.

 


 

[1] Gallagher, C, Underhill, E & Rimmer, M 2003, ‘Occupational safety and health management systems in Australia: barriers to success’, Policy and Practice in Health and Safety, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 67-81.

 

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels – Thanks!

Safety just won’t happen without effective leadership

Some have argued that leadership may be almost the single most powerful component of workplace culture[1]. Therefore, it follows that effective leadership is also important for safety practices to function at their best. We’ve found this to be pretty bang on. Our consultants often find that a poor workplace culture and poor safety performance, usually goes hand-in-hand with poor leadership.

 

While, this may be obvious to some – it isn’t to all. Often it can be organisational leaders themselves who are not acutely aware of their pivotal role in developing the workplace culture that promotes a safe work environment. So, if you’re a leader and thinking “Geez, I gotta get onto this” – or if you play a bit of an influential role with the leaders in your workplace – read on to learn how leaders can better promote a stronger safety culture.

 

demo-safety champion

 

Just why is leadership so important in building a strong safety culture?

 

Well, it’s the actions of leaders that set a personal example for desired workplace behaviour. Leaders can be very influential when they are seen by workers to follow and promote established safety rules, policies, procedures and standards.

 

Wise words from a safety guru:

 

“Top management must be committed to excellence and drive the agenda by establishing a vision, values and goals.”[2] James Meville Stewart, author of Managing for World Class Safety.

 

Wise words from one of our gurus:

 

“What interests my manager, fascinates me.” Craig Salter (most likely paraphrased from somewhere on the internet).

 

What do leaders need to succeed in building a strong safety culture?

 

  • Leaders must possess both the desire to act and a clear understanding of the specific behaviours that lead to excellent safety performance.
  • Leaders should focus on determining and then representing the values and behaviours required to strengthen workplace practices.
  • Leaders must not only say the right things, they must actively drive the development, implementation and enforcement of safety management systems to keep it moving.
  • Leaders should seek advice from safety professionals to guide and advise on an evidence-based approach to health and safety management, suited to their business.
  • Leaders should be involved in safety meetings and regularly include safety in their conversations and communications.

 

So if you are adopting the “do as I say, not as I do” approach to safety leadership – you are way off the mark. Chances are, you’re not developing a culture. Even if you are punishing those workers caught working outside “your rules” and even if they are appropriate controls in and of themselves, it simply won’t bring about the culture you are after you if you don’t adopt the rules yourself.

 

Put simply, if you don’t need to follow the rules, why should others?

 

 

As a leader, just how do you change safety culture for the better?

 

Whilst it is usually found that an organisation cannot change the core beliefs of the individuals within it, an organisational leader can certainly change the core culture of the collective. This is done by not only saying, but also doing. This is done by leaders adhering to the rules they lay out for everyone.

 

They must exemplify the change they wish to see in the workplace.

 

If in reading this, you are thinking “I need to do better” or that the leaders in your organisation need to do better, you’re probably right. Because, after all, all of us have the right to come to a workplace that protects our health and safety. The ignorance of leadership in your organisation may indeed be negatively affecting you, your colleagues and the leaders themselves.

 

And if you need a little help with implementing a health and safety management system to work alongside your strong safety leadership, contact us today!

 

[1] Simon, S.I. and R.A. Carrillo. Improving Safety Performance Through Cultural Interventions. In Safety Health & Asset Protection: Management Essentials, R.W. Lack, 2nd Edition. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2002.

[2] Stewart, J.M. Managing for World Class Safety. New York. John Wiley & Sons, 2002.

 

Why we should all support diversity in the workplace…

This week is Harmony Week in Australia. What used to be a single day – Harmony Day held on 21 March to coincide with United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – is now a whole week of celebration of Australia’s cultural diversity, inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone in our community. With recent events, this week is sure to hold great emotion for some amongst us.

 

This year’s Harmony Week got us thinking about diversity and equality in the workplace. We like to think of ourselves as a pretty inclusive and welcoming sort of workplace – it’s something that we really love about working at Safety Champion. But what does it even mean to be diverse in the workplace? And how important is it for your business?

 

Employee diversity is increasing more and more. Of course – once upon a time – women, people from varying ethnic or religious backgrounds, or people with disabilities, to name but a few, did not find it easy to secure a position in the workplace. Thankfully, now, things have changed – and are continuing to change! Whilst we have come a long way, we know that more can be done.

 

We did a bit of research to discover what’s so good about this change. Here’s what we found – some pretty strong reasons for assuring you have diversity and equality on board in your workplace;

 

With greater workplace diversity comes more innovation and creativity.

People from different walks of life bring new perspectives and ideas to the table. These perspectives can improve the way your team works together and the service or product you deliver. Such improvements are simply good for business.

 

With greater workplace diversity comes opportunity for better and wider customer or partner interactions.

With greater diversity in your team, it’s possible you’ll open up a conversation with people you might not have otherwise. Additionally, your service or product might change for the better to incorporate or accommodate more diverse customers and partners.

 

With greater workplace diversity comes opportunity to learn tolerance, flexibility and adaptability.

Trust us, when your people can cultivate these things, they will be happier at work. And in general, for that matter. You’ll find the opposite of these three traits in almost every miserable person on the planet. And happy staff means lower staff turnover and lower costs on recruitment. Yay!

 

Workplace diversity is not only good for business – it’s good for people. We can all get something amazing out of increased diversity and inclusiveness. So, next time you are recruiting stay open to diversity and inclusiveness.

 

And if you’re already in a pretty diverse workplace – think about how you can learn more about each others culture this Harmony Week. You can even hold a public or private event and register it here. We already have – our office lunch in the park this Thursday! We think we might do a “pot luck” lunch, where we can each bring a plate of food that has meaning to us, to provide an opportunity for greater conversation.

 

Learn more about Harmony Day here: https://www.harmony.gov.au/

5 ways leaders can get safety really moving in 2019

You may have read our recent blog Safety just won’t happen without effective leadership a little while ago. In that article we argued that for safety culture to work and work well, it needs the support and influence of the leaders in an organisation. This is one of the most critical components for the assurance of an effective safety culture.

 

We’d almost go so far as to confidently say, if you don’t have the support of your leadership team as you develop and implement safety practices, you’re up for a hard slog. Sorry to say – and it breaks our heart as super pro-safety people – but we’ve seen it time and time again. Your leaders must be in full support of your safety program if you want your safety culture to really thrive.

 

So – what can you do about building a stronger safety culture?

If you are a leader, or you have great influence on the leaders in your workplace, read on. These are the behaviours that we’d suggest the leaders in your organisation should take on to promote safety excellence:

 

1. Set expectations.

Just like leaders do in other facets of business, leaders must translate their vision for safety into clear expectations and accountabilities, and filter this through all levels of the organisation. This provides a platform to enforce rewards, recognition and consequences, which will ultimately drive better behaviours and stronger safety culture.

 

2. Educate and train.

Leaders must provide education, training and resources to their people to ensure that employees are fully prepared and ready for excellence in safety performance. It is not enough to set the goals and then leave staff without the tools they need to succeed. Education starts at induction, then training should consider both operational specific skills and knowledge (i.e. how to do a work task) and process specific skills and knowledge (i.e. how to ensure policies or procedures are successfully implemented).

 

3. Power to the people.

By taking on points 1 and 2, leaders are well on their way with empowering their people to succeed. But leaders also must give their people the authority, flexibility and partnership they require to perform and achieve. This involves trust and (if you are one of those types) relinquishing control. In the words of Elsa from ‘Frozen‘ – “let it go”!

safety champion safety software safety culture tips for leaders

 

4. Encourage.

Leaders absolutely must continuously inspire, reassure and encourage their people to strive for excellence and meet organisational targets. It’s not enough to do this once at the beginning of the year and forget about it. Your people will lose focus on safety if leaders are not keeping it top of mind year-round.

 

5. Check in.

Leaders need to measure, monitor and review the effectiveness of their safety goals and make any necessary changes as they go. There’s no point without this step, quite frankly.

 

That’s it from us – our two cents. If you are an aspiring leader in safety, take on the above advice and you will be better placed to succeed, along with your people and your entire safety management system. And if you are looking for a software system to help you implement the nitty gritty of your safety program with ease, so you can focus on the bigger stuff outlined above, give us a bell at Safety Champion or jot down your details here and we’ll be in contact.

 

Sign up to our 100% safety software today

 

 

 

 


Keen to get safety sorted in 2019?

March is approaching swiftly. So, if you haven’t started your safety planning yet, it may mean you’re stuck or not sure where to start. But that’s totally ok. At Safety Champion, our mission is to provide clear and simple direction to uncomplicate safety management. In fact, during the last half of 2018 we held a four-part health and safety 101 webinar – The War on Safety – with this simple objective.

 

A number of attendees of the War on Safety mentioned that they found little nuggets of gold within the series that helped them look at their health and safety program in a slightly different way. Attendees mentioned they felt more confident to ‘do safety stuff’ and improve things at their workplace, without an increase in perceived effort. One little nugget stood out and it was this:

 

Identify what can hurt people in your workplace, then, actively work towards fixing and managing those things so people don’t get hurt.

 

So simple.

 

So if you are stuck with where to start your safety planning for 2019, this is our best piece of advice for a starting point. The truth is, if you do this well, you are likely to be doing safety extremely well.

 

But what does this look like in practice? Here’s some practical step-by-step advice for how you could approach this:

  1. Schedule a meeting (as a collective, or as individuals) with people across the business who undertake operational activities.
  2. Ask your team what they understand to be the health and safety risks associated with their work – don’t talk, listen.
  3. If they have a long list, potentially ask them to identify the:
    1. two (2) hazards that could have the greatest consequence (i.e. where they, or others could be seriously injured, or even die); and,
    2. two (2) hazards that they are exposed to, which they have to manage regularly. These hazards may have a minor, or significant consequence.

Remember: Don’t challenge. You asked for their opinion. You already know and have your opinion. After this meeting you can work together to manage hazards that all parties see as reasonable and practicable.

  1. Without challenging your team, working through the hazards identified within point 3, or points 3(a) and 3(b). Ask them, what do they do to ensure that people don’t get injured as they perform their tasks at work – again, don’t talk, listen.
  2. Thank them for their role in establishing a safer workplace.
  3. Then ask, what else could they, or the business, do to better ensure that people don’t get injured. If you do start to have a conversation here, don’t comment negatively towards their suggestions.
  4. Document the conversation – if you need a tool to support documentation, contact us, and we will provide you with the template that we have made available to all of our Safety Champion Clients within our Version Control and Documents Module.

 

A lot of businesses get so overwhelmed by the ‘doing’ of safety. This is often because they don’t involve their workers. They forget that in its rawest form, safety is about preventing incidents. They find it hard to start, because they look to do ‘legal compliance’ rather than explicitly looking at ways the work that they do, could hurt their workers, or people exposed to the work that they do.

 

But our advice? Initially focus on this. Once you identify a way that your workers or others could get hurt, you can then explore the legislation and guidance material to familiarise yourself with appropriate methods of control.

 

Once you have identified things that you will do to reduce the likelihood people getting hurt by your operations (i.e. via training, meetings, inspections, maintenance, etc.) document this, set-reminders, build sustainability. This is what managing your health and safety obligations looks like.

 

We feel incredibly privileged to hear such positive feedback from the people who joined the War on Safety webinar series. Not only has this feedback helped us to refine and improve the way our Action OHS Consulting consultants work with clients, or how our software Safety Champion functions; it was also just awesome to hear from listeners telling us that they were now confident to talk about safety within their workplaces.

 

We’re heartened by this – because as safety geeks ourselves – what we really want is to build safer and happier workplaces.

 

If you are keen to download the full War on Safety Webinar series so you can get safety sorted for 2019 from today – do so here.

 

What on earth is a near miss? And why should I care…

 

To make this terminology slightly more accessible – a ‘near miss’ could simply be called a ‘close call.’ It’s any time that someone in your workplace might have narrowly avoided injury or harm. Sounds like an ok outcome, right? An injury avoided! Great, let’s get on with our work. But actually near misses are worth a closer look.

 

It may sound laborious and you are probably thinking, ‘Of course, the health and safety people want to investigate that near miss further.’ Perhaps you think this may be a waste of time, effort and money. After all, no one was hurt. But actually near misses – from a safety management perspective – are gold. Why? Well, not only did no one get hurt (yay!) but they are also brilliant opportunities to learn about the hazards and risks in your workplace.

 

 

What’s our advice about how to use near miss data?

 

Essentially, as a business owner or a manager, you are trying to create a workplace that means your people will go home every night happy, healthy and in tact. This means, you need to recognise possible hazards and reduce the risk of injury and harm. So, it’s worthwhile starting to look at near misses as great indications of what hazards need to be addressed to improve safety in your workplace.

 

Start to build a culture of reporting near misses. If near misses are reported and then properly addressed, you are doing your job to protect the health and safety of your people.

 

It’s also important to note here that an organisation may be prosecuted in the case of a near miss. Yes, this can be the case even when no one has been injured. Why? Well, in some cases it may be deemed negligent of an organisation to have exposed people to risk – whether the likelihood of that risk is high or low. So, even more incentive to get your people in the habit of reporting near misses.

 

So how can you promote and improve your near miss reporting?

 

  • Explicitly ask your workers at team meetings of near misses or close calls that they have been involved with, and
  • Make ‘near miss’ reporting clear, simple and easy! Not sure how? Consider implementing a health and safety software program like Safety Champion. Safety Champion will allow workers to report near misses, and ensure that these are communicated to key stakeholders in the business to manage.

 

Once you start to get workers reporting ‘near misses’, don’t forget to establish controls to ensure that the likelihood of the ‘event’ occurring again in the future is reduced. Once you have reduced the potential impact of the hazard, then, you are doing your job – and doing it really well. See – near miss data is awesome and can really help you build a stronger safety management system.

Do you flow?

 

Flow. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Maybe you haven’t. But flow is defined to be when a person experiences a state of consciousness where they are totally absorbed in their work, and enjoy it immensely. It’s sounds pretty good and something that both employees and employers should probably chase for the sake of increased productivity levels and worker happiness!

 

Interestingly, the concept of flow is reserved more for the workplace. People report states of flow occurring more commonly in their work, in comparison to all the other activities they choose to do outside of work.

 

For example, surgeons often report experiencing flow when they are completely absorbed in an 8 hour surgery. When it happens the concept of time often evaporates, as does any feelings of anxiety or stress.

 

So how can you experience a state of flow? The million dollar question…

 

Well, flow occurs when a perfect balance is found between the challenge that a task presents, and a person’s ability to perform the task. The task can’t be too easy or too hard, and you have to perceive it this way for it to all work. There needs to be some sense of ‘I can do this’ but that it’s still a challenge. Additionally, research suggests there are three core elements in flow;

 

  1. Intrinsic motivation – this is not just enjoying your work enough to be motivated to do it, but also being fascinated by it and deriving pleasure from it!
  2. Absorption – this is total, 100%, uninterrupted concentration on the task at hand.
  3. Enjoyment – and this one is obvious – no definition required!

 

So, it’s a pretty special experience and perhaps not something that is possible for every person to experience every day. But next time you catch yourself in a brief moment of flow, feel free to smile. Because it’s likely indicative of the fact that the current task at hand meets your professional skill level at a perfect balance. And what a lovely place to be!

 

We asked our software development team when they are in flow…

 

And interestingly, it all revolved around development of ‘new’ Safety Champion modules. Our developers spoke about the ‘challenge’ associated with getting it all to work, all to fit together. Figuring out how to deliver what we need the user functionality to be, in alignment with the brief from the health and safety consultants, and with their own skill level in whichever platform they use. This is the moment they most commonly experienced it. Makes sense.

 

When do you flow?

3 things you probably don’t think could be true about workplace bullying

 

Workplace bullying or workplace victimisation can lead to a range of negative outcomes for everyone involved.

 

Stress, low job satisfaction, burnout, depression, presenteeism and absenteeism are some of the more commonly discussed, and all of severely impact workplace productivity.

 

This list alone should make you want to ensure a bully-free workplace environment. And there are even more possible negative impacts that you may be less likely to think about straight away – including cardiovascular problems, post-traumatic stress disorder, and resignations.

 

There’s clearly a big reason why we’re all talking about workplace bullying right now. But the topic isn’t as simple as many initially think.

 

Here are three things that may challenge your assumptions of workplace bullying and how it works:

 

 

1. Subordinates can bully their seniors.

Don’t be fooled. It is certainly possible for bullying to occur up, down and across traditional lines of reporting in the workplace. Additionally, bullying can even occur between organisations too. Be careful not to assume that bullying behaviour is restricted to managers or those with traditional organisational power.

2. Victims are not always submissive and insecure.

It may be possible for victims to display what might be thought of as personality traits clearly suited to a bully. Some research has suggested that aggressive, hostile or irritating traits may combine to create a provocative character in a person, when paired with certain other personalities that may be more reactive. So, be careful not to assume that these kinds of character traits must be indicative of a bully in all cases.

3. Bullies and victims can switch roles interchangeably.

It is not always easy to know who is the perpetrator and who is the victim, as this may change over time, repeatedly, and as new players come into the scene. Consider the interplay between the personalities of different people – one may provoke, while the other reacts. Then one retaliates, as the other defends. It’s best to consider each bullying scenario as ‘relational’ – a social interaction – and avoid blaming the perpetrator or blaming the victim.

 

Remember that workplace bullying is not only a horrible experience for those directly involved, but it doesn’t do anything positive for the workplace culture in which it occurs. So, be sure to build the kind of workplace culture that refuses to harbour bullying. Learn more about the factors at play in our blog Should I be worried about my staff being bullied at work?

 

The Juggler Part 3: Training the Juggler

In many organisations, the Juggler is your “Safety Champion” – the person that keeps workplace safety on track and moving. Remember, the Juggler is the person, typically in smaller and medium sized businesses, who has been allocated the responsibility of ‘managing’ safety, in addition to their ’employed’ role.

 

As a result, the Juggler has often not completed formal safety training, which then impacts their ability to effectively manage your businesses safety program. In this article, we thought we’d share some of the training options that can help you give the Juggler the right skills to effectively do their job.

 

There are a few formal training course options:

  • The Health and Safety Representative (HSR) Training course – This course imparts extensive knowledge relating to consultation (through representation), legislation and incident investigation. However, areas such as risk management, technical knowledge, training and safety communication are also covered. The course varies from state to state. In Victoria, our sister-company Action OHS Consulting offer this course. Click for more.
  • The Certificate IV or Diploma in WHSThese courses address the skill needs of the Juggler but completion times are long – up to twelve months. Check with your local TAFE or RTO to see if they offer these courses.
  • For Queenslanders – WorkCover Queensland recognised a gap in training for the Juggler and has reintroduced training for the Work Health and Safety Officer (WHSO). The WHSO training provides knowledge in risk management, training implementation, and incident investigation skills.

 

Effective training and development solutions for the Juggler should include the following skill areas:

  • Understanding the legal and regulatory health and safety requirements –what does the law require you to do?;
  • Developing an approach to identify and manage risk (with a focus on serious risk);
  • Developing technical knowledge on areas specific to your organisation. This may include manual handling or ergonomics, hazardous chemicals, work at heights, etc;
  • Development of ‘communication’ and ‘influencing’ skills. Safety challenge’s often arise as a result of ineffective communication; and/or
  • Responding to incidents, and identifying strategies to conduct investigations, to best ensure that reoccurrences do not occur.

 

If formal training is not an option right now, or it’s something the Juggler at your workplace already has under their belt (yay!), the Juggler can also receive support by:

  • Subscribing to safety updates from their local regulator and Safe Work Australia.
  • Establishing a relationship with a certified safety professional. Think of this like how a bookkeeper maintains the company financial accounts on a day-to-day basis, but calls in certified Accountant for technical advice. Safety professionals can provide technical insights and advice when the Juggler requires specific safety assistance.
  • Adopt safety software – like, say, Safety Champion! Safety Champion will help you plan, and then guide and direct the Juggler to what they need from everyone else in the organisation. It helps everyone in the organisation understand their responsibilities and accountabilities, and means that the Juggler won’t have to police the implementation of your health and safety program. Often, this administration takes time, and policing is not fun, so it is not hard to see why this part of safety management is where the wheels often fall off.

 

Don’t forget – the Juggler is playing a super important role within your workplace. So show your love by giving them access to effective development options and support.

Check out the other blogs in “The Juggler” blog series:

Part 1 – Who is the Juggler

Part 2 – Show your support to the Juggler

What on earth is psychological safety?

So, psychological safety. Maybe you remember that a few years ago Google released their findings about what makes the perfect team following some internal research. It was pretty big at the time. But in case you missed it, what they found was that ‘psychological safety’ was not only the most important factor of a successful team, it actually underpinned all the other factors.

 

Psychological safety is the understanding that members of a team will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, or concerns, and even admitting to mistakes or shortfalls. It is all about ensuring that team members feel comfortable and safe in taking risks and even feeling vulnerable on occasion around each other.

 

To put it into practical terms, think of the poorest team you have been part of – this may be in a work, sporting or personal relationship context. Maybe it was an absolute drag to meet with them. Maybe you felt like you were never going to achieve what you set out to achieve as a team. Or maybe there might have even been conflicts amongst the team members.

 

If you’ve experienced anything like this, it’s likely – according to Google’s research – that the team wasn’t psychologically safe. This is what prevents a team from thriving.

 

So, how do you go about getting psychological safety in a team?

 

Well, whether you are a manager or coach, a facilitator, a team participant or partner, the advice is largely the same;

 

  1. Be open to new ideas
  2. Respect those in your team and their views
  3. Listen without interruption

 

This, put simply, is treating others as you’d like to be treated yourself! Easy yeah?

 

And we think – like Google – that psychological safety is a critical factor when it comes to strong workplace health and safety. After all, if people don’t feel they can speak up about what’s making them feel unsafe, how can you go about fixing it and preventing injury or harm?

 

Here’s a link to that Google work on psychological safety that we mentioned earlier.

 

Some other useful articles along these psychological safety lines:

https://www.safetychampion.com.au/should-i-be-worried-about-my-staff-being-bullied-at-work/

https://www.safetychampion.com.au/5-things-we-do-to-keep-our-team-happiness-level-on-a-high/

The silly season is upon us…

Santa suits, party buses, free-flowing bubbly, finger food, high heels and party hats, end-of-year toasts, marquees, dance floors…

 

This time of year certainly is a lot of fun.

 

It’s the time we get to let our hair out with our colleagues, peers and mates to celebrate the year and look forward to the year ahead. But as a business, it’s important to know how you can keep your people safe during the silly season.

 

After all, workplace health and safety responsibilities still apply at workplace-endorsed events. And businesses may even be liable for any employee injuries that occur before, during or after a workplace function.

 

Suggestions for keeping it safe, healthy & happy

 

Think about possible things that could go wrong and come up with some ways you can mitigate the risk of them occurring.

 

Examples are;

 

  • Uninvited and unwelcome guests could easily enter the venue if it’s a function room of a public bar, for example. So, getting security at the door could prevent this from happening.

  • Cuts from glassware might occur if there is a strong potential that they may be dropped. So can you provide plastic cup, cans or bottles?

  • If the event is being held outside or somewhere outside of your workplace, think about how first aid incidents be managed? Don’t limit yourself to injuries, could there be allergies? Take a first aid kit with you!

 

Need safety software, free of charge? Use our Safety Champion Light.

 

  • Let your people know what behaviour you expect. Formalise it. Send out an email, or bring it up in the next staff meeting. Talk about the disciplinary consequences that may take place if behaviour doesn’t align.

  • Clearly set out defined start and finish times for the event and ensure that these are stated on the invitation. Note that if a manager throws their card behind the bar at a different venue, so the party can continue, it is likely that this will be seen as a work-sanctioned event.

  • Ensure that your people can get safely to and from the venue. In some states, workers compensation obligations extend to the journey to and from work – in this case, ‘work’ is the company-endorsed event.

  • Consider restricting the amount of drinks, or the “strength” of drinks that are available. Always have non-alcoholic alternatives available. This could even be fun! Like offering a refreshing ‘company-branded’ mocktail part-way through the event.

  • A meal or finger food can slow down alcohol consumption, so ensure you have enough! Nobody enjoys an event when the food runs out early either.

 

 

And we wouldn’t be good health and safety people if we didn’t also suggest you have a bit of a debrief after.

 

Pop a meeting in your calendar for the event organisers to meet post-the-event to discuss how everything went. Document ways that things could be improved for next time!

 

That’s it from us – have an awesome, fun and safe silly season!

 

It’s the perfect month, week and day to take action on mental health

Why now?

 

Because…

 

This month is National Safe Work Month in Australia…

 

And this week is Mental Health Week in most parts of the country…

 

And today (10/10) is World Mental Health Day around the globe.

 

So today is the day of all days to take action and encourage mentally healthier and safer workplaces in Australia.

 

“Around 90 per cent of employees think mental health is an important issue for businesses, but only 50 per cent believe their workplace is mentally healthy.”

TNS (2014). State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia. Melbourne: beyondblue. Link to report

 

How can you take action?

 

Building a mentally stronger and healthier workplace doesn’t have to be super complex.

 

As a starting point, it can be as simple as taking a note from great organisations like RUOK – and simply check in with your colleagues, staff or even (yes they are a person too!) your boss by asking “Are you ok?”

 

Just opening up the conversation about mental health in your workplace will already set you on the path towards reducing the stigma and getting people that vital support when they need it.

 

Keen to learn more? Well, there’s a wealth of freely available knowledge out there to assist you. Of all of these, the one spot we’d really recommend you go if you want to learn more about what you can do in the mental health space in the workplace, is Heads Up.

 

Heads Up was created by the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, a collection of amazingly knowledgeable organisations – including beyondblue, Safe Work Australia and Black Dog Institute to name a few – working together to develop information and materials to help us all build mentally stronger workplaces. Check it out: https://www.headsup.org.au/

 

At Safety Champion we care a lot about keeping people at work mentally and physically well at work. This is why we are in business. And it’s also why we offer a completely free version of our software to any business that also cares about the health and safety of their people at work!

 

Keen to try it? Learn more about our free safety software here.

 

 

Some quick ideas:

  • Follow the work of great organisations like RUOk, beyondblue, Safe Work Australia and the Black Dog Institute

  • Take some training in Mental Health First Aid – or encourage a workmate to

  • Spend some time on the Heads Up website to get great resources and guidance specifically about workplace mental health

  • Get serious about health and safety practices. A safety software can really help you out – try our Safety Champion Light.

 

Let’s make mentally healthier and safer workplace together! We can all be safety champion’s this National Safe Work Month!

 

Why you should take note of ‘startup’ principles in your workplace…

There are some pretty innovative things going on in the world right now. It’s an exciting time. There’s a stack of people out there solving some pretty big problems, with relatively little money and resources. And it’s the startup culture that’s really helping to drive those people to strive and achieve… against all odds.

 

So, when you think about it. It makes sense to pay a little attention to the startup world – even if you’re not a part of it at all right now. Why? Because, if this culture can mobilise some incredible change and progress for humankind, with very little time, money or resources, it’s worth questioning how?! And further, how can you adopt some of the startup principles in your own workplace?

 

So, as a business that adopts quite a few startup principles ourselves, here’s three points of advice:

 

Just start

This is a big one. It means throwing away some of our old school thinking which for some may be developing a five-year plan and thinking about every detail over and over and over again once more before we start doing anything. This is ‘old school’. And it fosters inaction, stagnation. Often there can be a real be benefit in just starting… start small, start with what you can, test your idea. If you get some traction or interest – build on it. This stays true whether it’s an internal project you want to get off the ground or starting the world’s next most awesome everyone-must-have software system (like, say, Safety Champion!)

 

Stay very close to your customer

Seriously, you’re customer is key. They know your product or service. Maybe they know it better than you – at least in a practical sense. Listening to their thoughts, gripes and advice helps you to build, grow and improve your product or service. It’s hard to listen to sometimes, but you have to be open to it. If you stay close to your customer and learn from them – you can build a better product while also building a stronger and more personal relationship with your customer.

 

Never assume you’re done

This kinda follows on from the last. But never assume you have the perfect product or service and that you are done with it. It can always be improved. Always. Yes, always. So even if you’re a small business that’s been delivering consulting services for the last 10 years and you reckon you’ve got the model right, there are still ways you can improve that service. Keep learning. Keep building and improving upon your product or service and you’ll be sure to stay in the game or ahead of it.

 

 

So that’s it from us. Some of the principles we build our business on. Hope you find it useful for your next project or initiative or business idea!

 

 

The Juggler Part 2: Show your support for the Juggler!

The importance of the Juggler is clear, as many bosses and business owners know only too well.

 

Not sure what we mean by the Juggler? Check out this blog.

 

However, when your business introduces a Juggler – or many Jugglers – they really must be supported. And this is something that is often missed. Not supporting the Juggler in your business poses a risk. This means they are not in a solid position to keep health and safety in check and – as is important – are not able to continue to improve your health and safety program.

 

So, how can businesses show their support to the Juggler? Generally, support falls into three areas; leadership support, provision of training / instruction, and allocation of resources. Below is some practical advice for any business looking to help their Juggler out!

 

Leadership Support

The boss must communicate the need for all workers to carry out safety related tasks and, when required, must step in to support the Juggler. Whilst the Juggler will require that others complete safety tasks to support the implementation of the safety program; some people in the business may see these tasks as peripheral. If the Juggler is not able to articulate the importance of the safety task, this is where the boss needs to intervene. When a boss shows the support of the work of a Juggler – generally the rest of the staff fall in line.

Of course, this is made easier if the boss can easily see what tasks are required to be completed by all workers and track progress. A safety software like Safety Champion does help to provide this kind of oversight.

 

Training/Instruction

Since the Juggler is often performing a safety function without formal health and safety training behind them, it’s important to realise that they may need it so that they can perform well in this role. The Juggler often acts as the ‘representative’ of the boss, consulting and communicating with all employees. As such they must be able to speak with conviction to be able to influence others to get behind safety. Should specific technical safety knowledge be required, this can always be undertaken through other means – namely the Safety Regulator, by engaging advice from an OHS professional or employer groups. But the Juggler, no doubt, needs solid training and instruction about their role and responsibilities first.

There is a lot of free training that can be accessed via webinars, free conferences initiated by government departments, councils, industry groups or the regulator, and often free training that is offered by your Workers Compensation Agent. If you’re not sure where to look – Contact Us.

 

Safety Resources

The boss must be prepared to purchase required safety material and equipment to support the Juggler in their role. Resources like these should be part of any risk management solution, and should be budgeted for purchase, maintenance and replacement. One resource that is not often considered is possibly the one most effective in enabling the Juggler to do their work – that of data management. Being able to easily track and progress safety tasks that are being completed by others makes the work of the Juggler easier. And it makes it more likely that safety related tasks will be done, full stop!

So, yeah – it could be argued that this is the lifeblood of health and safety.

 

Having solid support in place to help the Juggler will mean that the boss and everyone else will benefit from effective health and safety practices, which everyone can be confident in making the workplace safety and often operationally more efficient.

Who is responsible for health and safety anyway?

You might find it surprising – but in today’s modern working world it’s not just management, risk teams, and health and safety specialists that have to think about health and safety in the workplace. Everyone has their part to play in living the mantra of “work safe, home safe”. This is how we make sure that everyone goes home safely at the end of each day.

Having a good level of health and safety awareness is key to maintaining an effective safety culture in your workplace. But how do you bring your people on board with this stuff when it all seems too complicated and really just not engaging enough. Well, the trick is to help health and safety responsibilities become naturally embedded in the day-to-day activities of all staff. Aim to be implicit [1] with safety, not explicit. [2]

How?

Well, here are our 3 top tips for starting to create an awareness of health and safety responsibilities without your people switching-off:

 

  1. Start at the top

Make health and safety a strategic and operational priority of your organisation, with management regularly communicating and emphasising its importance to all staff. Do this in as many ways as possible; try adding a safety line item to your regular and existing weekly all staff meetings, or simply “just ask” your staff for input about the hazards they are aware of, or even sharing a blog every once in a while with the workplace. It doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming – but management leading the way is important!

 

  1. Tailor it

Health and safety legislation and standards are wide-reaching and applicable to a broad range of sectors and organisations. So, your approach to health and safety should be relevant to the industry and context of your organisation. To make it more accessible to your people start with WorkSafe’s Injury Hotspots website – and talk about exactly what is relevant in your industry and not what isn’t! Jump on that site today and print a poster or two to stick up in tea rooms and lunch areas.

 

Free safety promotion poster set for your workplace. Download now.

 

  1. Simplify it for your staff

Do away with unnecessary complexity and jargon by speaking to your people about safety in simple terms. They don’t need to see the regulations or the complex paperwork – hell, even you don’t – but reminding your staff that health and safety is simply about making sure we all go home safe at night can really bring it home for people. So if you were to ask your people to simply let you know when something doesn’t safe or feel right, that’s already an amazing step forward and brings everyone into the picture. Work with them on the solution. Keep the updated on your progress. Let them know it’s not that hard.

 

 

Don’t forget, Safety Champion can help. Our software is scalable and flexible, and can be customised to suit the health and safety needs of your business. After all, it was designed especially for the small and medium sized business market, and as such comes pre-loaded with configurable documents and workflows that you and your people need to stay safe and stay on track with safety. We have made it easy to configure our templates and workflows to align with business; not to mention, we will adopt your colours and your logos – so your workers will feel at home. Why not arrange a demo today?

 

[1] Implicit: Quietly, some may say sneakily trying to build safety into already existing business activities. Doing “safety” without workers/people knowing that they are “doing safety”. The process is important, not people thinking/knowing that the process is safety.

[2] Explicit: Yelling from the rooftops, placing an over-emphasis – making it the most important thing in the room, when the behaviours of managers and leaders suggests it’s not.

The Juggler Part 1 : Who is the Juggler?

Workplace health and safety is all about preventing harm to people from the activities undertaken by a business. To achieve this, employers and business owners must understand they have a duty to provide a safe workplace for their employees and anyone else who comes on site or is impacted by what the workplace does. This means both understanding the health and safety risks facing your people, visitors or clients, and eliminating (*ideally) or minimising those risks as best you can.

 

To do this most effectively, everyone in your organisation must have input into the development and implementation of your safety solutions.

 

But believe it or not, often getting everyone involved is the easy part! At least, at the start. Generally, there is an initial willingness from everyone to be involved – especially if the boss is treating safety as a priority. However, for some workplaces, the challenge is to continue the businesses focus on safety, and to ensure that the agreed safety solutions, are maintained and remain effective.

 

When things get busy, or the boss moves on to “another” focus area, or no one has time to keep those safety checks and measures in place; yep, you guessed it, it is not uncommon for safety to fall ‘off the wagon’.

 

Enter the Juggler!

 

The Juggler is the worker who puts their hand up, or is assigned, management of the operational health and safety work that doesn’t readily fall into the roles or responsibilities of other workers. The Juggler either does these things themselves, or keeps everyone else on track to get things done. Why do they keep people on track?

 

Because often these are the things that others may not be focused on doing as part of their tasks.

 

Tasks may include, to name a few, doing and/or ensuring that the following is completed: inductions and identified training; safety and operational meetings; workplace, first-aid or emergency management inspections; equipment and Personal Protective Equipment ordering and maintenance; and incident reports and workplace injuries are managed appropriately. Importantly, the Juggler is often responsible for ensuring that records and evidence of completion is maintained.

 

The Juggler might be anyone in the business, from the business owner, to the office manager or the receptionist. But whoever they are, they face diverse work duties and manage these simultaneously… just like juggling.

 

So it’s often the juggler who is left with the responsibility of managing the implementation of the safety program. Especially businesses out there that don’t have a designated “health and safety” person. But it’s important to remember that even though the Juggler is out there keeping the safety program alive, and encouraging everyone to join in – especially when or if the pulse is fading, it is vital that businesses continue to acknowledge that everyone is responsible for maintaining a safe workplace and don’t rely on the juggler.

Why you should pay attention to health and safety prosecutions data…

Last month, our sister organisation, Action OHS Consulting, put together a pretty thorough analysis of the 2017 health and safety prosecutions in Victoria and NSW; based on data from WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW. You can see the full report here. But we thought it was a pretty good time to point out why information like this is important for business leaders to take note of.

 

Prosecutions – even just the word – sounds pretty full-on (and also a little scary). For some, it encourages the placement of hands over their ears and eyes, so that they can “pretend” that they were not aware of the detail that was available. Add to that the word ‘data’, we understand, it puts you at risk of eyes glazing over!

 

However, being aware of the trends in health and safety prosecutions data is a smart move for every business.

 

This is not only so you can avoid a fine – but more importantly, this rich information that can guide you towards ways that your business can avoid injury and harm to the people in your workplace. How? By allowing your organisation foresight. Once you better understand what can go wrong, your business can make changes to current processes to ensure that you do not repeat the health and safety mistakes made by others.

 

Three ways that you can use prosecutions data to set your business up for health and safety success:

 

  1. Trends in the prosecutions data and insights from specific cases can help inform what to either include or focus-on in your health and safety program; that you may have previously overlooked.

 

  1. Prosecutions data can help support and influence key stakeholders within your organisation. It may assist with getting that health and safety-related item purchased, or that health and safety related program you’ve been trying to get off the ground finally moving.

 

  1. The data can help you to communicate the importance of adhering to health and safety protocols; and when used wisely, can motivate your people to play their part in establishing a safe workplace too.

 

So, there you have it. It will pay to stay across what has unfortunately gone wrong at other workplaces. And even if you think you are in a low-risk industry – if (touch wood) an incident that did occur in your workplace – remember hindsight is no defence. It’s likely the prosecutions data will at some stage give you a little nugget that will assist you to keep your people safer.

What on earth is an Issue Resolution Process?

What is an Issue Resolution Process, and do I need one? A lot of people ask us this. And they also ask whether they should develop one internally? And our response to this is… well yes, you should. However, if you don’t then you will automatically adopt the issue resolution procedure straight from the Regulations – so it is in your best interest to be across what it requires.

 

Essentially the intent of an issue resolution process is to make things easier for the people in your workplace to come to a resolution following an issue.

 

If you ask us, our take is that the terminology issue and resolution makes it all sound a little scary, and negative. But the short of it is, if you have a business, there will be safety hazards. And if you have employees, then it is likely that you will, on occasions have differences in opinions about how these hazards or other workplace issues are managed. By creating and communicating an issue resolution process, you are simply smoothing it all out, should these differences of opinions occur.

 

We know what you are thinking – does this mean pages and pages of words? No! It doesn’t need to be pages of complicated communication flows, rigid rules, and jargon. However, it does need to be a clearly defined, step-by-step process for how differences in opinion regarding safety management (i.e. issues) are escalated so they can be properly addressed.

 

So, what does your an issue resolution process need to include?

Well, these 4 things:

 

1. Report & Record

Clearly identify how your workers can raise issues. Do they tell someone, do they open an excel register and enter it in, or do they email someone? Sounds simple, but the trick is to make it clear how your people should raise an issue. If you make sure that it is recorded, no one can try to ignore the issue and use the “I didn’t know” clause at a later time. Recording the issue therefore assists in being more confident that the issue is clear, and can be attended to immediately.

 

2. Review & Assess

Who reviews the issues after they are logged? Along with the workers manager, the regulations guide you to ensure that the Health and Safety Representative (HSR) is made aware and consulted with. If you don’t have a HSR, then identify someone in your workplace with health and safety knowledge. Where possible, have a team of people assess and review the issue. This can be a good tactic because a team is more likely to find sustainable controls and resolutions that consider all parts of your business operations.

 

3. Ways to Escalate

If an issue doesn’t get addressed or resolved, where does it go next? Perhaps your people don’t have the expertise or experience to manage more serious issues. So this is where you need a clear pathway for issues to be escalated to management or even out to external parties. Typically, the issues will move from a worker to the HSR and then to the manager. Then, if the issue is not resolved at this level, it may be escalated to the manager’s manager. Then again, if it is not resolved here, it will get escalated up the management line to the CEO and/or Business Owner. And if it makes it all the way and is still not resolved, this is where external experts or the Safety Committee should be consulted. And as a final step, the State Health and Safety Regulator would be involved – here’s a list of the Australian Health and Safety Regulators.

 

4. Follow up & Close Out

How do you confirm that all issues have been addressed correctly and to the satisfaction of the person or team that raised it in the first place? This is an important part of the process – loop back and let your people know what the issue was and how you addressed it, so they can be reassured that it was resolved.

 

And another tip – once you have this process sorted, it should be communicated clearly to your people. Documenting it is a good way to make sure people have access to the information. Consider drawing up a simple and clear Issue Resolution flow chart and sticking it up around the tea room or emailing it around.

 

 

Stuck for ideas on how you can develop a simple way for health and safety issues to be raised, recorded and managed until close out? Well, Safety Champion Software has a module dedicated to do just this – yep, shipped and ready for used. Don’t make it hard and complicated for your people to raise issues that concern them. Make the ‘doing’ of Issue Resolution Process Management super simple with Safety Champion.

We’re declaring war on safety… wait, what?

That’s right. We’re declaring war. On ‘safety’. But it’s not what you think. This is the title of our upcoming webinar series designed to fight through the perceived complexity of health and safety. We were inspired by the ABC’s War on Waste program… and threw a little spin on our own title. Yes, we want to catch your attention. Because safety is important.

 

These webinars will deliver simple health and safety advice to any business out there that has a thirst for it or needs it. We want to break down health and safety into what you need to know, not what the ‘Safety Industry’ tells you you!

 

Sound good? Get access to all episodes here!

 

So, yes, declaring War on Safety is a dramatic title (*cheeky of us). But we have our reasons.

 

Actually the title The War on Safety really represents the frustrations and confusion that we see of many Australian businesses have when probed about their safety program. It is clear that many businesses don’t know where to start and need some assistance crawling before they start to walk.

 

An overview the webinar program can be found below.

 

The program has been designed by the very experienced health and safety consultants at our sister-organisation, Action OHS Consulting. So you can be confident that you will be getting practical advice from innovative and forward-thinking health and safety professionals.

 

Across a four-part series, from August to November, The War on Safety will break all that safety jargon down into bite-sized, 30-minute webinars that give practical advice to business owners and people managers that want to learn more.

 

This way we can play our part in helping businesses keep their people healthier and safer.

 

Since this webinar series is now over – we’re providing access to the recordings to anyone who is keen. Click here.

 

 

Webinar Schedule

All webinars will commence at 11am AEST

 

8 August 2018Planning for casualties

How to develop a safety program

 

Registrations closed
12 September 2018Can I burn them up?

Understanding the safety documents you need

 

Registrations closed
10 October 2018Who are my allies?

Where to find free, useful resources

 

Registrations closed
14 November 2018Now let’s get that army moving

How to make safety business as usual

 

Registrations closed

 

Should I be worried about my staff being bullied at work?

Look, maybe you don’t need to be worried about but certainly you should be aware of workplace bullying and how it can impact your people. Surprising for some – perhaps not for others – it is a real thing and something that happens in Australian workplaces often enough for us to write about it.

 

“9.4% of Australian workers indicated that they had experienced workplace bullying in the previous 6 months (Safework Australia, 2014–15)”

 

So what is workplace bullying?

 

Workplace bullying is repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety. I can be carried out by one or more workers.

 

The definitions are important.

 

  • ‘Repeated behaviour’ refers to the persistent nature of the behaviour and can involve a range of behaviours over time.
  • ‘Unreasonable behaviour’ means behaviour that a reasonable person, having considered the circumstances, would see as unreasonable, including behaviour that is victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.

 

Examples of such behaviour, whether intentional or unintentional, include but are not limited to:

  • abusive, insulting or offensive language or comments
  • aggressive and intimidating conduct
  • belittling or humiliating comments
  • victimisation
  • practical jokes or initiation
  • unjustified criticism or complaints
  • deliberately excluding someone from work-related activities
  • withholding information that is vital for effective work performance
  • setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines
  • setting tasks that are unreasonably below or beyond a person’s skill level
  • denying access to information, supervision, consultation or resources to the detriment of the worker
  • spreading misinformation or malicious rumours, and
  • changing work arrangements such as rosters and leave to deliberately inconvenience a particular worker or workers.

 

So what should you do to look out for your people?

 

  1. Watch out for these things happening in your workplace. Note that though they could be one-off incidences, they are certainly something you should take note of and watch carefully. Because a single occurrence could be indicative of repeated behaviour that has already happened or may happen in the future.

 

  1. Be aware of changing characteristics of your staff. People experiencing bullying could show signs such as; distress, anxiety, panic attacks, physical illness, deteriorating relationships with colleagues, family and friends, poor work performance, inability to concentrate and more.

 

  1. Talk to your staff about workplace bullying, keep it on the agenda, and reiterate your workplace has zero-tolerance for it. If you don’t have a policy and clear procedures for how your staff should manage this if it happens – get it sorted! Reach out to OHS consultants that can help set this up. As a minimum you should have:

– a policy statement, and

– be able to demonstrate that you have spoken with your workers (this may be via formal training, or toolbox talk) about what bullying is and how to report it; and,

– consider providing workers with easy access to help and/or someone to speak to if they identify a need. Obviously the Issue Resolution Process is a good start, however, you may want to consider external and confidential services like an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), or direction to free contacts such as Lifeline, beyondblue, Headspace, The Black Dog Institute… to name a few. Put the contact details up on a noticeboard or in internal newsletters / communications emails.

 

  1. Skill yo’self up! Read the guidelines from Safe Work Australia. Learn more about related issues and check out the available resources from Heads Up – an alliance between a handful of reputable organisations created to ensure people in Australia workplaces are mentally healthy and safe. Or take a ‘mental health first aid’ course through Mental Health First Aid Australia. There’s lots of resources out there for you to use.

 

All of these things can help you to be better aware and better prepared for workplace bullying if it happen in your workplace. Good luck!

What on earth is a toolbox talk?

If you don’t know what a toolbox talk is it’s likely you don’t work in a blue-collar-type role. Because in industries like construction, mining, warehousing, manufacturing, right through to landscaping, toolbox talks are an integral part of health and safety program and procedures.

That said, if you run a business or manage people in or outside of these industries and don’t know what a toolbox talk is… read on. Then consider integrating these into your own safety management system – the benefits can be outstanding.

Why? Because toolbox talks can be a great way for any manager or team leader to start conversations about safety in the workplace!

 

So, what are they?

Toolbox talks are short and regular meetings about safety issues relevant to a specific site, project or workplace. A manager, supervisor or health and safety representative usually runs them with all person on site prior to a shift, at the commencement of a particular part of a project, or simply on a regular basis.

So yes, toolbox talks are sort of like meeting. In white-collar workplaces these are often just what you’d call a team meeting.

In addition to site, project or workplace specific hazards, toolbox talks will often cover organisational-specific safety topics including; key definitions, reminders about established controls, and importantly, actions/tasks scheduled to be taken by the people in the team to ensure that work is undertaken safely.

 

Why have them?

In short, their purpose is to ensure the whole team understand and keep the correct health and safety practices in mind as they go about their work. They keep health and safety front-of-mind and raise awareness about a safety issues.

And because any given site or project may have different or changing safety hazards, it’s important they are held regularly and involve everyone. This helps builds that safety-first culture, and a physiologically safe workplace, where workers are provided with a safe environment to raise questions that they may have.

 

What is a common structure?

Often toolboxs talks these days will be less like a lecture or meeting, and more like an interactive discussion where everyone can and should raise their hands to be involved. What you want is for your team to be engaged, to have their concerns addressed, and to ensure that everyone walks away with a clear understanding of that safety topic and how it implicates them in their day-to-day work.

A question-answer type structure is a good way to run toolbox talks. You ask the team for their involvement and answer their questions, but at the same time have a few common questions with considered answers ready to go.

 

Should I hold toolbox talks?

We’re gonna say YES! Regardless of the industry you work in toolbox talks are a great way to discuss get the discussion moving around common hazards in your workplace.

And if you are thinking, “I work in an office – there are no hazards here,” think again. Every workplace has hazards – it may just be that the frequency that your toolbox meetings take place is adjusted. Workers have the right to know what those hazards are and how to management them – and it’s your responsibility to ensure that they have everything they need to be healthy and safe in the workplace!

 

How can I get my hands on some templates?

We’re glad you asked! Simply fill out this form, let us know what you think you need, and we’ll be in contact to help you out with some common toolbox talk templates that are relevant for your industry!

 

Does my business need a Safety Management System?

Our short answer is: yes! Every business needs an effective Health and Safety Management System because every business has people that need to be protected!

 

But don’t worry – your Health and Safety Management System doesn’t have to be complex, and it doesn’t have to be costly. Put simply, a Health and Safety Management System is a systematic approach to keeping your health and safety tasks in check.

 

What the health and safety consultants generally won’t tell you, is that the legislation doesn’t stipulate that a business’s Health and Safety Management System has to be documented. If your workers are clear on your internal health and safety processes, this is sufficient.

 

 

That said, as businesses grow, and there are more people at the table, relying on a more “verbal” Health and Safety Management System can be challenging to implement.

 

It becomes more difficult for all of your staff to have a uniform understanding of your system and more difficult to demonstrate what compliance measures you’ve been taking to the regulator, if there was ever a need.

 

Think back to the effectiveness of Chinese whispers!

 

So, if you are not 100% confident that your health and safety message will be the same at the end, as it was at the start – this is when you should start to consider formally documenting your approaches and processes.

 

 

Ready to get started? Well, here are 5 critical components for you to consider as you start to set up your Health and Safety Management System:

 

1. Management endorsement.

If management has a low focus on health and safety, so too will everyone else. Start at the top – seriously. You can’t get out of this one if you want to make a safe workplace. What will you commit to and support? Think resourcing, think budget, think actions.

 

2. Planning. 

Ensure hazards arising from work activities are identified so that risks can be assessed and then controlled. This is critical. Get your people involved in this – use weekly meetings to ask about possible risks. Need help? Check this tool out. Just type in your industry and see exactly what hazards you need to look out for.

 

3. Implementation.

Develop a plan to improve things and allocate components of it out to your people. You need to ensure that what you say, is what you do. Everyone has a role to play! Meeting reminders from a software system like Safety Champion can do wonders to make sure everything gets done and everyone is involved!

 

Join one of our upcoming webinars.

 

4. Measurement and evaluation. 

Track what you’ve done. Are you doing what you said you’d do in the beginning?

 

5. Review and improvement. 

Review to continually improve your Health and Safety Management System. Make sure you regularly look at your results and take preventative and/or corrective action to continually improve things. Aim to be better!

 

 

So, yes, you need a system but don’t get too bogged down.

 

Basically, your Health and Safety Management System is simply ‘what you actually do’ to manage foreseeable and unforeseeable hazards, to prevent incidents and injuries, and to minimise risks. Focus on how you will do all those health and safety tasks and how you will sustain the implementation of your system, and your off to a good start.

 

Even better, document it and communicate it well to all your people – often – for even better results. Good luck!

 

5 things we do to keep our team happiness level on a high!

We’re sure you know about it. There’s big things happening in the business world these days around stuff like ‘employee engagement’ and ‘workplace wellness.’ Whist you may currently leave this terminology to the big end of town, doing something with it in your business probably something that shouldn’t be ignored for much longer! And you know what, you may actually be doing it already… but calling it ‘how you do business.’

 

We are hand on heart safety nerds at Safety Champion, so engagement and wellness gets us excited. Why? What it really means is that Australian businesses are responding to the call to look after their people holistically. After all, we are people – we are not machines!

 

We, of course, practice what we preach in terms of health and safety in the workplace… and we know this also means looking after our team’s mental health too. So, what do we do at Safety Champion to keep our people happy?

 

  1. Plan: Weekly stand-up meetings allow for expectations on weekly deliverables to be carefully considered and clearly allocated. Sounds simple but it is something that has taken a bit of work to master!
  2. Support: Flexible working hours and locations are important to our team. We are objectives focused, not ‘time on seat’ focused!
  3. Disrupt: Monthly lunches in the park or pizzas in the boardroom lets us chew the fat and talk shop in a more relaxed environment.
  4. Move: Regular walks at lunch or ‘walking and talking’ meetings help us fresh air and works wonders for our ideas!
  5. Socialize: Regular Friday night hang-outs and quarterly social events help us get to know each other better. We aim to know more than the face and to build real connections!

 

If you’re already doing one or more of these – gold stars to you! That said, if you are still not convinced or still wondering why you should care about the wellbeing of your people at that level… Well, you really can’t argue with benefits like:

 

  • Lower staff turnover = cost savings. Finding and then upskilling the new team member with the requisite knowledge to succeed is time and resource consuming!
  • Happier staff = increased productivity. If your staff look forward to work, and love their workplace – that is productivity right there.
  • Mentally healthier people = less chance of serious claims against you. Whilst we don’t want to see someone we care about going through the trauma associated with the claim. As a business, a workers compensation will drain resources in administration of the claim, and finances associated with increased premiums.

 

So there you have it. Have a think about how you could bring some of these initiatives onboard at your workplace today. These ideas are by no means ‘the be all and end all’, however they are some cost-free and simple starters to get you going.

 

A perfect solution fit for SMEs…

We’re guessing that you already know you have to do something about health and safety in your business but you are probably thinking “When on earth do I have the time?” Yes, it’s complex and, yes, it’s hard to know where to start, but the fact is you gotta start somewhere.

 

Why? Well, actually small to medium sized Australian businesses are often exposed when it comes to health and safety. As you probably know, we justify our ignorance of health and safety by saying there’s not enough time to make it a focus because there’s always another area of the business that is a higher priority. That is, until one of our workers injures themselves; then we blame the regulator for making it all so complicated!

 

We have heard you!

 

This is exactly why we created Safety Champion. Our point of difference? Safety Champion has been designed by highly experienced health and safety professionals that work with SMEs every day. This means that Safety Champion efficiently responds to the real needs of businesses, as we have witnessed all those barriers and pain points.

 

“We didn’t develop Safety Champion because we wanted to develop software. We did it because we couldn’t find a simple and affordable software solution that would assist small and medium sized businesses promote health and safety, and also support them to comply with the legislation and regulators to keep their people safe.”

-Craig Salter, Founder

 

We don’t just dump our software on our clients and leave you to figure out the health and safety part. We supply a holistic solution that supports you from a number of angles. Yes, the user-friendly software is part of it. But we also offer:

  • a Safety Manual that can be contextualized to align with your business,
  • over 100 useful templates and 100 workflows aligned with Australian Standards, and
  • access to health and safety consultants to assist you with the practical implementation of your health and safety management system, if you need it.

 

Our consultants are on the ground every day. They have worked with over 500 Australian SMEs. They know your frustration, they’ve seen the issues you’ve had with other software systems and they can help.

 

And for our techy friends out there – here’s something cool. Safety Champion has been built using a system architecture framework that sets it apart. This architecture – a micro/macro services approach – allows for the fast and low-cost flexibility that SMEs need – something that other, older technology on the market just doesn’t offer. It’s your commercial-off-the-shelf enterprise solution.

 

So, why is Safety Champion the perfect solution? Easy.

 

In short, we know safety and we know software.

 

 

Do I have RSI?

Recently, one of clients was asking our advice about “RSI”. A number of their employees have raised issues over the past few years about pain in their wrists, arms and necks, most suggesting it was due to extensive computer use. Our client was worried about the ongoing issues related to this – both from a productivity point of view but also because they wanted to look out for their people. So, they asked us what they could do about it.

 

We should start by saying this is a very common question for us. Probably because ‘Repetition Strain Injury’ (RSI) or ‘Occupationa