Do Health and Safety Procedures need to be formally documented to be real?

You’ll be relieved to hear that for many businesses, particularly smaller ones, the short answer is ‘no’.

 

Adhering to the health and safety legislation does not actually require procedures to be documented. Rather, it simply requires that these procedures are established and implemented in the workplace.

 

  • It requires your business to have a considered and consistent way of undertaking its operations.
  • It requires your business to communicate this established or official way of undertaking its operations to the relevant parties, whether this be: workers, contractors or visitors.
  • It requires your business to ensure that the identified relevant parties understand this established or official way of undertaking the operations.

 

It does not require formal documentation of this process. It certainly doesn’t require a folder of procedures doing nothing but collecting dust. But it does require some activity and doing on your part.

 

It is more important that your workplace has established a safe system of work, than have a safe system of work written down on a piece of paper that is unrealistic or not followed.

 

Part of this doing that is actually important is keeping accurate records. These are not to be confused with health and safety procedure documentation, that outline the processes you undertake. These records are evidence of the activities you have performed as part of your already established and implemented health and safety procedure. Read a detailed account of the typical workplace health and safety documentation and associated records here.

 

So, the good news is that if you have regular and working communication across all levels of your business you likely already have some health and safety procedures in place without you paying them much thought. You may not have an official document to prove it, but you could already be undertaking some of the fundamentals needed for a strong health and safety compliant workplace. Read more advice here about how to ensure you have a solid approach to health and safety in your workplace.

 

Having said all of this, there are some major benefits to having your health and safety procedure documented, even if you are a small business. Read more about what documenting your procedures can do for your business here. Documented procedures can;

 

  • be an effective way to bring all your employees, managers and works alike, onto the same page when it comes to implementing health and safety procedures.
  • remove confusion and ambiguity about Health and Safety.
  • help ensure that important health and safety tasks are still undertaken even if roles change or staff come and go.
  • open up opportunity for working with other businesses that require evidence of your documented health and safety procedure before engaging with you.

 

Whilst not a legislative requirement, documenting health and safety will encourage explicit consideration of how the business implements health and safety into their operations, the way that they work and with whom they work.

 

If you are unsure if your workplace has any health and safety procedures – documented or not – please contact us. We would love the opportunity to review how you are implementing health and safety across your business, and to help guide you towards getting it working well both for compliance with the legislative requirements and for your business.

 

Safety Management Systems: A “For Dummies” Guide

We are often asked ‘What is a Safety Management System?’ and usually the common follow up question is ‘Why do I need one?

These are good questions for small and large business owners alike to be asking. So, we thought we’d share a short synopsis of exactly what a Safety Management System is, how it works, and why you really should look at implementing one for the success and safety of your workplace.

Essentially, a Safety Management System is process that your business undertakes to manage and mitigate safety risks for the protection of your workers, contractors and visitors within the workplace. When implemented into business operations, this system helps you to continually improve the business’ safety performance and its compliance with health and safety legislation and standards, through sound, risk-based decision-making and practical action.

In doing so, the business establishes a safer working environment for workers, demonstrates strong corporate responsibility and, in turn, builds greater credibility as a mature organisation with whom your existing and prospective clients, employees and stakeholders will be happy to work.

How does a Safety Management System work exactly?

Well, it all starts with your business’ commitment to safety. Your businesses commitment is often demonstrated via a Health and Safety Policy – which is a general plan of intent which guides or influences future decisions around the health and safety of the people in your workplace. From there, comes the planning stage where you determine how you will achieve the intentions outlined by the Health and Safety Policy.

 

“A goal without a plan is just a wish”

 

Once your business has established its health and safety plan, implementation of the plan follows. Implementation is where the health and safety impacts are considered across all aspects of your operations.

To ensure optimal health and safety and operations performance (one should not be independent of the other), implementation is followed by ongoing monitoring and evaluation, and a subsequent review phase. This forms a continuous cycle to ensure ongoing improvement.

Sounds daunting, but it’s actually not difficult to run once you’ve established the health and safety plan itself. Read more detail about how it works here.

 

Join our upcoming webinar. Register Now.

 

What are the benefits for my business?

Much research has shown clear links between strong Safety Management Systems, safe workplaces and long-term business efficiency. But in the interest of keeping this short and to the point, here are the top five reasons why a Safety Management System will benefit your workplace, no matter how small (or large):

  • A Safety Management System will create clarity and comfort for workers around roles, responsibilities and expectations from a safety point of view.
  • It could help save possible loss of revenue caused by workers injuries that lead to medical expenses, replacement labour, insurance claim expenses, workers’ compensation insurance premiums… – this list could continue.
  • It will improve your business’ opportunity to work with other organisations. As the business world becomes more sophisticated in terms of health and safety, it is becoming more and more common for those seeking partnerships and contracts to request evidence of strong health and safety practices, especially a Safety Management System, before they will do business.
  • It will help to guide your business through the process of effectively meeting legal health and safety requirements.
  • It will enhance your business’ reputation with your employees and customers. A business that looks after its people and customers is a business that people want to work for and with.

 

And, health and safety legislation and standards?

Yes, we did mention that and they do exist. The Australia and New Zealand standard (AS/NZS 4801:2001), in alignment with the International Standard (ISO 18001 / ISO 45001), provide guidance on what your workplace should consider when establishing a Safety Management System. It is encouraged that you are familiar with a standard if developing a Safety Management System and it makes good business sense to do so. Read more about The Safety Management System Standard here.

 

Need to know more about health and safety legislation in Australia? Read through; Health and safety legislation – the basic explanation

 

Looking for more detail on Safety Management System’s? Review our past blog: Safety Management Systems: A comprehensive overview.

 

Why you should transition your Safety Management System to an Online Safety System

Safety Management Systems whilst relatively easy to establish, can often be complex beasts to implement. Whilst it is easy for “safety people” to say that health and safety should fit seamlessly into the way that your business operates, the harsh reality is that for many organisations whether they be: large, medium, small, complex or basic – this is not the case.

The difficultly with Safety Management Systems is often compliance. Multiple outputs managed in multiple places. One place manages the training expiry output, another place manages the safety data sheet (SDS) expiry output, an alternative place manages the insurance expiry outputs for not only your business but your contractors (for example workers compensation, public liability and professional indemnity), there is an extra place that manages preventive and routine maintenance, whilst finally there is a different place that manages the scheduled dates for the implementation actions such as workplace inspections, meetings and audit schedules established by what was once an easy to establish Safety Management System. Sound familiar?

 

Safety Software works by allowing multiple outputs to be managed in a single place.

 

Safety Software works by allowing multiple outputs to be managed in a single place. It creates Why you should transition your safey management system to an online safety systemvisibility of tasks that are approaching, whilst allowing access to and reflection on what has been completed. It tames the complex beast by providing a single point of truth.

Think of Safety Software as your shopping list. It reminds, it prompts and it ensures that you achieve 100% of the goal that you have set out on. It then allows you to make that delicious dish that makes Matt Prestons’ cravat stand on end. I digress.

In addition to supporting your business to implement its Safety Management System, you know that the document your business went to great effort and expense to establish, Safety Software will create efficiencies in how your business operates, how you work, what management has visibility on, whilst allowing you to throw out a handful of forms and procedures – win. For example, as we all want a safe work environment, incident management is an obvious place to start.

Following the implementation of Safety Software, incidents are then reported online via a computer or phone (your call), emails will then be automatically sent to management at the exact time that the incident is reported, whilst at that exact time the Incident Register just generates – tick, tick and tick. No need to “find” forms, no need to make “advisory” phone calls or send “advisory” emails when you received the completed incident form; and, no need to “generate” (otherwise known as copy information into) registers – yes, yes, yes. Instead, allowing Safety Software to manage the incident management workflow will give you time to “lead”, rather than “do”, safety in your workplace.

 

Allowing Safety Software to manage the incident management workflow will give you time to “lead”, rather than “do”, safety in your workplace.

 

As workflows are generated by the Safety Software for the incident investigation, no longer is there a requirement for your business to have a lengthy document that advises on: incident close out timeframes; incident investigation requirements; or, document storage – because this is all just “done” within the Safety Software.

 

 

The Safety Software will also ensure that your workplace upholds its legislated duty to manage foreseeable workplace hazards by ensuring incident investigations are completed, as opposed to the form just being filed and forgotten about because the hazard is “too small” or “too hard” to control.

 

A Safety Management System that is a Safety Folder on the shelf, potentially red, potentially green, potentially collecting dust, has limitations in its capacity to improve health and safety at your workplace. If either the “doing” or “management” of safety is the hard part at your workplace, please contact us. We would love to discuss the options available to you to energise your Safety Management System, and tell you some tales about how Safety Software.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Effective Safety Management Systems for Business: Practical Advice

All too often we see businesses go to great effort or expense to establish health and safety policies and procedures, then fail to implement them. A safety folder on a shelf, potentially collecting dust, is doing very little to actually improve health and safety of the people in your workplace. It’s the practical implementation of what’s in that folder that will protect your workers.

Whether your organisation is big or small, regional or city-based, or whether your business works in construction, mining, manufacturing, hospitality, retail, health or professional services; here’s some key advice to best ensure your Safety Management System works for you:

 

  1. Get senior management involved

The business owner or executive team must play an active leadership role to encourage the involvement of workers in the Safety Management System. It must be a regular item on the senior management agenda. The health and safety of workers must be a priority. Management must walk the talk.

 

  1. Motivate and educate workers

Make sure the expectations and responsibilities placed on your workers are clear to them and relevant to what they do. Talk often. Ensure workers understand the value of the Safety Management System to them and their colleagues through training, clear direction and delegation of practical tasks. Keep it a regular item on their agenda also.

 

  1. Keep it updated

It just doesn’t work to create the Safety Management System and let it sit on the shelf. Business risks will shift as business activities change or new information comes to hand. Workers come and go. Your Safety Management System must be adjusted regularly over time to ensure it is in line with your business’ current condition. Learn more about a suggested continual improvement cycle here.

 

  1. Integrate it into core business operations

Safety should be integral to the way you do business; it should not be an ‘add-on’. Its value to your business is indisputable; it keeps you and your workers, contractors and clients safe. It will open up opportunities for more business. It elevates the professionalism of your organisation, and so on.

 

So, where possible combine and align health and safety with your overall business practices and established operational processes to make sure it sticks.

 

If the doing is the hard part for you, please contact us. We would love to discuss options available for you to get your Safety Management System working as efficiently as possible for your business and your workers.

 

Still not sure what a Safety Management System is? Review our past blog: Safety Management Systems: A-“For-Dummies” Guide.

Six reasons why managers are introducing OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software to their business

There are a lot of benefits that can be gained from purchasing, commissioning and implementing a cloud-based OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software System.

Below are the six (6) recurring views that business owners have raised with us when discussing how OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software has improved their business’ health and safety performance.

 

  1. OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software gives me real-time visibility of the implementation of our Safety Management System. It is often difficult for managers to ‘hand on heart’ know the exact status of their health and safety procedures at any one point in time. It can be difficult to keep track of: (i) what has been completed; (ii) what is in the process of being completed; and (iii) what is overdue, at their workplace. OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software provides a live overview of all of this.

 

  1. OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software makes it so easy for us to implement our Safety Management System. Workers no longer have to waste time second-guessing themselves, using complicated spreadsheets, or handling messy paper files. With OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software everything that needs to be done is presented in a simple dashboard overview. Emails are automatically generated and sent to the safety administrators as each task deadline approaches. Once ‘signed-off’, the health and safety record is saved and filed automatically. And then system then lines up the next task for you. Easy.

 

  1. OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software makes my health and safety reporting more accurate and consistent than before. Spreadsheets can be tricky things to manage. Multiple users, manual data entry or extraction, and poor user skills can result in errors and inconsistencies in the data set, and the subsequent reports. OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software reduces the ‘human element’ and helps to ensure you have access to more accurate and consistent reporting. This means that you can make better-informed and more appropriate decisions that positively impact your operations.

 

What you need to consider when creating a safety management system for your workplace.

 

  1. OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software helps me maintain safety management even when workers are on leave or they have left the business. Having ‘the person’ who coordinates ‘the safety’ in a workplace can be great. Well, for as long as they are in the workplace. But if ‘the person’ is suddenly on leave or has moved on, everything can come to a standstill. Especially if they were managing things in their personal diary or in personal computer files. OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software solves this problem. Everything is kept in a consistent way and in one spot. And tasks can be transferred from one worker to another, meaning safety management can continue as planned even when ‘the safety person’ leaves.

 

  1. OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software allows us to communicate better and act faster. Providing workers with access to online incident reporting and online hazard reporting means that workers can let their workplace know instantly if an issue arises. Paper report forms can be fine, but the delays in first finding the right form, completing the report, and ensuring it is reviewed by the right person means that businesses are not able to act as fast as they could or should. OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software allows communication to flow more seamlessly between workers and managers so that positive action can be taken, fast.

 

  1. OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software gives me easy access to the documentation I need. Typically, Health and Safety Manuals, Operating Procedures or Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are stored in places that are not always useful or logical for workers or managers. They might be stored in multiple locations, on intranets, in folders, in the meal room, anywhere. But OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software stores Safety Management System documentation in the cloud so that it can be easily accessed online. Anywhere and anytime. In the workplace or on the road. As you need.

 

This overview outlines just some of the common ‘good news stories’ that business owners and managers have shared with us about the positive impact of their OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software System. But there are likely to be many more benefits.

If you are thinking about how an OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software System could help you better manage the health and safety of your workplace, please contact us. We’d love to help.

 

Want to know more about OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software? Have read through our blog outlining some of the common misconceptions about what OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software actually does for your business: Six things you should be aware of before implementing OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software.

What are the main web-browsers and how do they differ?

A web browser or just browser is what you and the other 3 billion internet users access the internet through. It’s that page where you search for something or type in the ‘www’’ to go to a website that you are familiar with. On the web, when you navigate through pages of information, this is commonly known as web browsing or web surfing.

By definition a web browser is a software application for retrieving, presenting, and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web – the World Wide Web being the ‘www’ we referred to earlier. Whilst there are many browsers available, these are the four leading ones: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari.

Web browsers are intuitive for both basic and advanced internet users. Whilst each of these web browsers is easy to download and free, the majority of us use only one browser – so it is important that you choose correctly!

So, here’s run down of the big four:

Google Chrome

Google Chrome is known for its speed and simplicity. This browser is developed by Google and was first released for Microsoft Windows in 2008. Today, Chrome is known to be the most popular web browser.

From a configuration standpoint, Chrome is the only browser that supports both Windows and Mac operating software, along with both Android and iOS phones.

Chrome was the first to think of the ‘omnibar’. The ‘omnibar’ combines your regular address bar (the bit where you type in a full website address) with your search bar (the bit where you enter in search terms usually on www.google.com). This functionality allows you to type URLs and Google searches in the same place (the search bar).

Firefox

Firefox was developed by Mozilla. Its first version was released in back in 2004 and it was quite a popular browser on the Internet. However, its popularity has been slowly fading over the years. Surprising, because they come up with features with cool names like the ‘awesome bar’. The ‘awesome bar’ is like the ‘omnibar’ but also remembers where you’ve been and guesses where you might be going. Intuitive.

Firefox is well-known for its stability, but its start-up process is not as fast as Chrome’s.

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer is the big one – traditionally the most commonly used browser in the world. Although it’s share of usage is gradually dropping as Chrome’s is increasing. It’s the default browser that comes installed on most, if not all, PCs. This browser was developed by Microsoft back in 1995, at the same time that Windows was first created. Internet Explorer is also known as Microsoft Internet Explorer or just IE.

Internet Explorer provides a stable application that does not crash very often. However, it typically takes longer to load web pages than other browsers, and only supports the Windows operating system. The variation in versions of Internet Explorer often means that some software does not support all versions making it occasionally frustrating to use. These bugs occur in Internet Explorer at different times and fixing them can be time consuming.

Safari

Like Internet Explorers is to PCs, Safari is to Macs. It’s the default web browser installed on all brand new Macs. This web browser was produced and developed by Apple Inc. and was released in 2003. Safari is known for its simple and non-flashy approach. By removing the unnecessary bells and whistles of other browsers, Safari loads pages very quickly and is perfect for users that do not ask a lot of their web browsers. However, it sacrifices a lot of the customisation that other browsers provide.

The Verdict

Imagine that you have in one room a person speaking Chinese, and four interpreters translating what is being said into English. You would not expect to get the same translation, word for word, from each, would you? But you would expect to get the same meaning. The same ideas would get brought across. The same can be said for the four browsers overviewed above.

Browsers can be all about personal preference. But they can also be about providing a better interpretation of the page you are trying to view. A little trick is to make sure you have at least a couple of web browsers available to use. If a page isn’t loading correctly for you using one, it may work better on another. So, explore them and find the browsers that suit you and provide a better Internet experience.

What are your responsibilities for your pregnant workers?

A lot of employers get confused about exactly what their responsibilities are with their pregnant workers. How close to the birth do they go on maternity leave? Are they entitled to more leave for attending doctor’s appointments? Can their existing role be too dangerous for them now that they are pregnant? We’ll try to clear the air a little…

 

Employers must provide and maintain a working environment for their employees that is safe and without risks to health, so far as is reasonably possible. Of course, this also applies to your employees who are pregnant. But what a lot of employers don’t realise is that their ‘change of condition’ can also mean in some cases that there must be changes in the conditions of their working environment.

 

Possible risks for pregnant workers in the workplace

Here’s an indication of some of the more common activities and conditions in a work environment that are potentially hazardous to pregnant women:

 

  • Excessive noise (above the noise exposure standard) – Whilst the mother can wear hearing protection, her unborn baby cannot. Excessive noise can damage the developing ears of a baby in utero.
  • Manual handling – Heavy lifting and awkward postures during pregnancy can result in physical complications (abdominal separation, torn muscles or ligaments) or increased risk of falls due to the change in centre of gravity and balance.
  • Standing for long periods – Risk of thrombosis (blood clotting) and varicose veins increases for pregnant women standing for long periods – along with risk of fainting, especially in a hot environment.
  • Working with screen-based computer equipment – Physical changes that occur during pregnancy will mean that adjustments to workstation setup may be required over the course of the pregnancy to reduce stress placed on the lower back.
  • Lead and lead compounds – Lead poisoning is caused by breathing or swallowing lead. Lead can pass from a mother to her unborn baby and increase the risk for miscarriage, cause the baby to be born too early or too small, or result in learning or behavioural problems for the child.
  • Chemicals – Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) will note details about each chemical and whether it is a health risk to pregnant workers.
  • Fumes (particularly chemical) – Fumes can make a pregnant woman feel ill, in addition to potentially affecting the development of her unborn child.
  • Shocks and vibration – Regular exposure to shocks, low frequency vibration or excessive movement may increase the risk of a miscarriage. Examples would be driving or riding in off-road vehicles or earth moving equipment.

Whilst some of these hazards won’t be a concern pre-pregnancy; pregnancy does change this. To manage the health and safety hazard exposures associated with pregnancy, the workplace should consult with the pregnant worker to ensure their pregnancy is effectively managed. To support the conversation, you may wish to invite comment from the workers doctor.

 

Working up until the date of birth

Pregnant workers may work right up until the expected date of birth of their child. However, under the National Employment Standards (NES), if a worker wishes to work in the last six weeks of their pregnancy they must provide you, their employer, with a medical certificate stating that they are fit to work, if asked. It is good to keep this in mind, in case you are concerned about their health and ability to perform their role in the last 6 weeks.

If the medical certificate is not provided within seven days, or if the certificate says that the employee is not fit for work, you may request your employee to take personal leave, such as sick leave, or start unpaid parental leave as soon as possible.

 

Additional time off for antenatal appointments

Employees are not entitled to additional time off work for pregnancy-related appointments by law. However, many workplaces remain quite flexible in this regard and allow their pregnant employees to make doctors appointments during the working day, as they need. It is just a matter of open discussion, ensuring that workloads remain well-managed and the pregnant employees health remains well-managed!

 

 

Implementing our OHS Software solution helps you to plan and manage necessary health and safety duties even when your employees go on leave… like maternity leave. Contact us to discuss how our software can help today.

More requests for ‘sit-stand’ workstations? Try something else…

Since the 60-Minutes story ‘Stand Up Australia – Is sitting down killing us?’ aired in September 2014 the following question has been on every manager’s mind “Do I now have to provide ‘sit-stand’ workstations to my workers?“.

 

To us, the sit-stand workstation phenomena is an example of safety and OHS being used irresponsibly. The misconception that managers must purchase sit-stand workstations to provide a safe working environment is simply NOT true. Yes, managers absolutely do have a duty to provide a safe workplace. But no, this does not mean they need to purchase a bunch of sit-stand workstations.

 

Think back ten years, can you recall the saddle seat? Do you recall fit-balls replacing office chairs? If you can’t, consider taking a look in your storeroom. You may find them in there. Perhaps the sit-stand desk will end up in there with them one day. Who knows?

 

We are not saying that there are not benefits to standing throughout the working day. We would be crazy to. The well-reported health hazards associated with prolonged sitting include (but, of course, are not limited to):

  • increased pressure on the spine,
  • increased strain on muscles and ligaments,
  • possible risks for some cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes,
  • decreased calorie-burning rate (to just 1 cal/min),
  • decreased enzymes that help break fat down (dropping by 90%).

 

A 38-hour working week means that work roughly contributes to 23% of a full week. If this is so, why has the focus only been on seated posture at work, not the other times we sit? Consider the amount we sit outside of work – in the car, on the bus, using the computer at home, watching TV, eating dinner, lunch, breakfast… the list could go on!

 

It is highly unlikely that a workplace would “force” their workers to stay seated all day. Why is this important? Because it means that sit-stand workstations are not your only reasonable method of control.

 

So, if sit-stand workstations have been under consideration in your workplace – try investigating some of the other methods that may be used to manage the hazard itself – static posture or prolonged sitting.

 

Many of the risks mentioned above can be minimised by simply moving out of a seated posture for two (2) minutes every hour. So, in consultation with your workers (including HSRs and Health and Safety Committee if they are in place), have a think about these ideas:

 

Standing meetings

  • Remove chairs from some meeting rooms
  • Provide benches at a raised height that workers can stand around

 

Walking meetings

  • Map out a 1.5 to 2 km circuit for a 30-minute meeting
  • Map out a 3 to 4 km circuit for a 60-minute meeting

 

Run an internal campaign to encourage a standing and moving culture. Fun ideas are:

  • Stand every time you answer a phone call
  • Stand every time you review or read documents
  • Stand when a colleague comes to your desk or office
  • Use to a kitchen, printer or amenity that is not the closest
  • Use telephones, speakers or calendars to set a ‘change’ posture reminder
  • Use the stairs instead of the lift

 

All of these options will support workers to move out of a static posture across the work day. They all support proactive management of the hazard, just like the sit-stand workstation. But what’s also great about these options are that they could all double as fantastic energising and team-building methods, ultimately leading to increased happiness and productivity in your workplace!

 

Why not give them a try?

 

Want to know more about what is actually involved for you to provide a safe workplace for your employees? Read our Safety Management Systems; A Comprehensive Overview post that covers the legislative requirements – you won’t see a sit-stand desk mentioned once.

Help your workers retain those vital skills

Training is an important component of your health and safety program. It ensures that your workers have the appropriate knowledge and skills to competently complete the requirements of their job safely. What training looks like will vary considerably from business to business. Like everything training can be hit and miss. Some training will be effective and engaging, while other training will send workers to sleep, leading to zero-impact and retention.

 

To ensure that you get to most out of your training, we have reviewed some training methods so your can align your programs to achieve the deliverable you are after. Here, we have taken a look at blocked versus random practice; which you’ve probably come across in a sporting context before. Here’s how they work when learning a new skill like hitting a ball;

 

  • Blocked practice: Learn the skill from several scenarios by acting out Scenario A 10 times, before moving onto Scenario B, and then onto Scenario C.
  • Random practice: Learn the skill from several scenarios by acting out Scenario A once, Scenario B once and Scenario C once and repeat this 10 times

 

Ok, so now which one do you think is more effective in helping the skill be retained? The answer is dependent on whether you were assessing the performance after the initial training, or the performance at a later date.

 

Blocked practice should produce better performance than random practice during the initial training. It is an effective way for the participant to ‘understand’ the components of the individual skill. However, once the initial components of the skill are understood, it is random practice that will improve the participant’s ability to retain the skill.

 

Why? Because during random practice, the participant is required to work through the whole skill (from start to finish), as they switch between the different scenarios; rather than making minor adjustments to the skill, using their knowledge from their past performance. In brief, this causes more brain stimulation and activity. More brain activity results in better long-term learning.

 

So, to help your workers really understand the skills to undertake their job safely, your health and safety training should consider shifting from blocked training scenarios to a more randomised approach if this reflects the work that they are undertaking. Whilst challenging for your workers initially – “mixing things up” will improve their skills, help them recall the “skill” in the future, ultimately lead to a safer workplace.

 

 

Our OHS Software solution helps you manage your worker’s training better. Contact us to find out how.

 

 

Six things you should be aware of before implementing OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software

OHS Software, WHS Software, or Safety Software especially cloud-based software, is the future of business operations and is certainly the direction that many businesses are going in these days.

There is plenty of commentary available around why your business should implement a cloud-based OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software System. And we agree, of course. But, this commentary is often one-sided. So, we thought we’d outline a few things that you should be aware of before you invest time and money into commissioning an OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software System. Here goes:

 

  1. OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software and the Safety Management System will not automatically make your business ‘safer’. It is the implementation of the OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software and Safety Management System that will provide your business with structure, clarity and visibility. This will make your business safer.

 

  1. Establishing an OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software System will not ‘protect’ your business from prosecution should there be an incident or injury at your workplace. If there is an incident or injury at your workplace, the regulator will want to understand how your business could have identified and managed the hazard. It won’t care that you have a cloud-based OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software System or not. The OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software System is the tool that your workplace uses to support the management of health and safety in your workplace.

 

  1. OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software requires both time and resources to be successfully implemented into your business. Yes, OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software can create efficiencies in helping you manage your workplace health and safety. But these efficiencies will only be seen if you are already implementing a Safety Management System in your business, prior to purchasing the OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software. If you are doing very little now in terms health and safety procedure, you need to be aware that implementing OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software will mean that your business will have to find both the time and resources to activate your Safety Management System. Having said that, the good news is that if you implement OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software  you will be one step ahead by having one of the best tools in place to help you manage your Safety Management System.

 

  1. OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software Systems will not do everything you want them to do. The smooth sales pitch at the start is exactly that; a sales pitch. “OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software can do everything you need.” But businesses will often have tasks specific to their workplace, or will carry out tasks in a unique way. As cloud-based OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software  Systems are designed to support a variety of users and businesses, any changes or modifications implemented must to be applicable and relevant to all businesses – not just yours.

 

  1. Implementing an OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software System will require your workers to have some computer literacy. If your workers are unfamiliar with computers and/or have literacy issues – then this is something to consider. OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software is not complex software to use but it will require some basic understanding of computer use, such as using email and Facebook. Be careful not to cause extra anxiety around safety with your workers, and have a plan for training and guidance in place before you implement OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software .

 

  1. Using OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software will make your Safety Management System all of a sudden very visible. Completion of tasks in the OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software , whether this be inspections, meetings, audits, training expiry or safety data sheet (SDS) updates, will very quickly become much more obvious and real to you. If health and safety has been pushed to the side in the past, be ready for it to very much come to the forefront.

 

It’s important to wrap up here by saying that, despite the above notes, the benefits of well-planned and implemented OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software still far outweigh the negatives for many businesses. We believe that OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software is the way forward. Read more about some of the key reason’s managers are choosing to implement OHS software, WHS Software or Safety Software in their businesses here.

 

If you understand the pros and cons of OHS Software, WHS Software or Safety Software and are ready to bring the benefits to your business, we’d love to here from you. Please contact us.

Safety Management Systems: A comprehensive overview

What is a Safety Management System?

 

A Safety Management System is a systematic approach to managing safety. It should outline the approach and processes that your business takes to manage foreseeable and unforeseeable hazards, to prevent incidents, injuries and to minimise risks.

 

When implemented into a business’ operations, a Safety Management System should help the business to continually improve its safety performance and compliance to health and safety legislation and standards.

 

In doing so, the Safety Management System should support a business to establish a safer working environment that protect employees, contractors and visitors at the workplace by eliminating, or better managing, health and safety hazards.

Safety Management System Components and Elements

 

The Australian/New Zealand Standard: AS/NZS 4801:2001 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems – Specification with guidance for use (AS/NZS4801), sets out the requirements your workplace should aim to meet for an effective Health and Safety Management System. This Standard is in line with the international standard and has been designed to work for organisations of all sizes and from across all sectors.

 

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Within AS/NZS4801 there are five (5) clear stages detailed for effective Safety Management Systems. These five stages form a continual cycle of improvement. Consultation between management and workers, workers and managers, managers and managers, and workers and workers is a fundamental at each stage.

 

  1. Management Endorsement and Commitment to Health and Safety Policy. The Health and Safety Policy is a general plan of intent which guides or influences future decisions. Workplaces follow the lead of management; if management has a low focus on health and safety, health and safety will be a low focus of the workers.
  2. Planning. Outlines how the business will deliver the Health and Safety Policy, and Objectives and Targets, to ensure hazards arising from work activities are identified so that risks can be assessed and then controlled. The planning stage should review the organisational structure, business relationships, worker, contractor and visitor accountabilities, leading to the documentation of policies and procedures. A target without a plan is just a wish.
  3. Implementation. Implement the plan by developing the capabilities and support mechanisms necessary to achieve the Health and Safety Policy, and Objectives and Targets.
  4. Measurement and Evaluation. Measure, monitor and evaluate health and safety performance to determine the effectiveness of risk management and, if necessary, take preventative and corrective action.
  5. Review and Improvement. Review to continually improve the Safety Management System with the objective of improving health and safety performance.

 

safety management system

 

What are the Benefits of a Safety Management System?

 

Research has shown clear links between good Safety Management Systems, safe workplaces and long-term business efficiency. Establishing a Safety Management System will benefit your workplace, no matter how small (or large), by:

  • Creating clarity around responsibility and expectations. This will help your business create a safer work environment.
  • Saving your business $$$. How? It makes sense that a safer workplace should lead to a reduction in injuries. By pre-empting injuries, your business saves money on medical expenses, the injured employee’s wages, replacement labour, training other persons to complete the injured worker’s tasks, insurance claim excesses and increased workers’ compensation insurance premium – this list could continue.
  • Improving your business’ opportunities to work with other organisations. As organisations better understand their health and safety responsibilities, mature organisations favour purchasing products or services from businesses with a Safety Management System. You wouldn’t employee a worker who does not have the capability to do the inherent requirements of the job, why would an organisation favour a business that hasn’t considered its health and safety responsibilities?
  • Guiding your business on how it can effectively meet its legal health and safety requirements.
  • Enhancing your business’ reputation with your workers and customers. A business that looks after its people and customers is a business that people want to work for and buy from.

 

 

Effective Safety Management Systems

What is a safety management systemLarge, medium, small, complex or basic businesses’ Safety Management System should:

  • Be endorsed by Senior Management. To be effective, the business owner or Executive Team must play a leadership role and involve workers in the implementation of the Safety Management System.
  • Make the expectations placed on workers relevant to your business activities, visible, clear and easy to understand.
  • Be regularly updated! Business risks will change as business activities change and/or more information comes to hand. Your business’ Safety Management System needs to be agile, it needs to adjust. Reviewing and updating your Safety Management System will facilitate improvement and support your Safety Management System being appropriate for all circumstances.
  • Where possible, align with the business’ overall management system and processes. Safety should be a way that you do business; it should not be an ‘add-on’.

 

Most importantly, your Safety Management System should be implemented. Too often we see businesses that have gone to great effort or expense in establishing policies and procedures, then forgetting the end game which is to introduce the Safety Management System into their operations. A safety folder on the shelf, potentially collecting dust, is limited in its ability to improve health and safety for your workers.

 

If the ‘doing’ is the hard part, please contact us. We would love to discuss options available to you to energise your Safety Management System.

 

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