Goals and objectives

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.

 

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.

Try doing just one thing first…

We write a lot about how to set and achieve your health and safety goals and targets on this blog. But we know that for many small businesses all of that can be a little overwhelming when you are first starting to get your health and safety practices in place. So, here’s a different way of looking at it.

 

Start out with just one thing first.

 

Really, health and safety is simpler than you think. It’s all about identifying potential hazards and risks and then addressing those hazards and risks so that you keep your people healthy and safe while they are at work.

 

But while a major barrier against businesses actually doing this is “Where do I start?” there are a stack of great tools out there to help. We think one of the best ones is WorkSafe’s Injury Hotspots site. Simply type in your industry and this site will tell you all the major injuries and hazards associated with your industry.

 

Then print the poster, and stick it somewhere where you can see it. This is an easy way to keeping health and safety top of mind, and a visual way to show your workers your organisations focus on safe work behaviours. Of course, you can’t address everything today… so highlight the controls that you would like to implement, but start with one.

 

Start with the biggest risk to the health and safety of your people, you know, the one that keeps you up at night, the one that happens daily or the one where if it did occur, someone would be injured badly.

 

Starting with the highest risk is already an awesome start – this will have the greatest impact possible for your people and your business. So feel good about it. Celebrate it. Seek input from your workers how the hazard can be managed. Then over time you can work your way down that list. Gradually your business and your people will become safer, healthier and ultimately happier.

 

You gotta start somewhere, right?

 

 

Try ‘stacking’ your habits… to prevent safety from falling over.

At the Safety Champion HQ we were recently discussing a blog we came across in Fast Company. The author was writing about how to build habits. More specifically, how to build habits that yield positive outcomes by integrated them into our lives in super simple and effective ways. While everyone has goals in life and ideas of things they want to achieve, we so rarely stick to the tasks required to get us there. In other words, we lack the staying power.

 

This got us thinking about our clients when they are starting to build a culture of health and safety in the workplace. The business owners and people managers we work with keep telling us that maintaining the momentum to meet health and safety targets and objectives can be difficult. With this in mind – and following some rather opinionated conversations here at HQ – we think that some of the ideas in this blog about building positive habits could be applied to assist businesses to build a strong safety culture.

 

One of the key ideas that came up was the concept of ‘stacking habits’. Say for example, you already routinely do something in the workplace and maybe you even do this without questioning it. Well, that’s perfect. It’s now just a matter of adding another habit or task to the one you already do as a way to make sure it happens. This way you start to automatically do one when you do the other. Brilliant.

 

For example, your team may meet every Monday morning for a ‘work in progress’ or ‘operations’ meeting – why not add the topic of health and safety to the agenda? Or your administration staff may be responsible for following up managers to provide their budgetary or KPI reporting quarterly – why not add the question of the health and safety targets progress to that follow up? Or perhaps your staff complete timesheets every week – why not add the completion of a safety checklist or register to the timeslot?

 

“Stacking habits is one highly successful mechanism that we find many SMEs are starting to take up. It’s a really smart and simple way to build safety into business as usual activities.” – Elaine McGuigan, OHS Consultant.

 

There are many ways that we can see ‘stacking habit’s working for OHS. After all, effectively managing your OHS or WHS obligations in the workplace is largely about ‘keeping on top of it’ and ‘keeping it top of mind’. So, try stacking your regular office habits with your OHS ones, and start achieving your health and safety targets for the year today.

 

 

If you are still struggling with how to encourage your staff to stack habits or to actually take health and safety as seriously as it needs to be, watch this video to see how our software can be a great solution. It allows you to digitise your OHS targets, delegate tasks, apply deadlines and reminders, and give managers and owners an overview at the click of a mouse. Simple.

This is an office. That OHS stuff doesn’t really apply here…

Right? Well, not quite. Actually, health and safety legislation in Australia doesn’t distinguish between industries or workplaces at all. Your duty to provide a ‘working environment that is safe and without risks to health and safety’ still applies even if you think it’s just those guys hanging off the side of your building cleaning the windows who have something to worry about. The health and safety of office workers is just as important.

 

So, what do you need to need to be aware of exactly? Well, OHS legislation is really all about mitigating risks to the health and safety of your workers. The legislation actually outlines a few duties that you, as a business owner or manager, can use to help you frame how to respond to it. Here are just a few of the things that relate to office workplaces to give you an idea of what we are talking about:

 

Emergency Management – What’s the plan if there’s a fire, serious injury, or aggressive customer?

Worker Training – Is OHS in your induction for new employees? Do your workers know the basics?

Consulting your Workers – When was the last time you spoke to your workers about OHS?

Incident Reporting – Did you know you need to keep a record of many injuries?

Managing Hazards – How do you manage:

  • Electricity – How is damaged equipment removed?
  • Housekeeping – Are there broken chairs lying around that someone might sit on?
  • Heavy Lifting – Do your staff sometimes carry heavy items around? Should they?
  • Stress – Are workloads increasing right now? Are you going through a big change in procedure or structure? Read more about stress management here.
  • Workstation ergonomics – What equipment have you provided? Is it suitable?

 

You are probably already starting to think about some things in your workplace that you really should look into further, right? But don’t worry. It’s not as hard as you think to put some solid control measures in place to prevent unnecessary injuries and illnesses.

 

To get started or to refresh some of the procedures you used to have in place, try reading a few of the resources below for more information, setting up a meeting with your workers (if you have OHS representatives great!) to review your procedures and policies, engaging an OHS consulting specialist company to help guide you, or even trying a software system like Safety Champion which comes with all of the checks and measures you need, tailored perfectly to your business needs. The good news is that if “stuff” is happening, your procedures don’t need to be documented – you just need to be able to demonstrate that you are doing something. If you look to document them, which can improve consistency and support knowledge transfer, try to avoid long and lengthy – could a flowchart or playbook better suit your business?

 

Sounds like a hassle, but the good news is that doing this right is good for business too. Ultimately, well implemented health and safety practices in your business will likely result in improved productivity and a healthier and safer office culture.

 

 

After more detailed information about this?

Here are some detailed docs about First Aid: First Aid in the Workplace Compliance Code (VIC) and Code of Practice First Aid in the Workplace (Other States). In addition, our friends at Alsco have 40+: (i) first aid signs, (ii) first aid visual guide posters; and (iii) first aid posters, that are all freely downloadable and print ready. And here are some more docs about managing the working environment: Workplace Amenities and Work Environment (VIC) and Managing the Work Environment and Facilities (Other States)

 

 

How to actually achieve your OHS targets in 2017

A goal without a plan is just a wish. Ok, this is something that we harp on about a bit at Safety Champion – but it’s just so true. Wishes are good when blowing out birthday candles, but when it comes to the health and safety of your workers, just hoping that it’ll all be all ok is not fair on anyone! So, here’s a few planning pointers to help you reach your OHS targets in 2017.

 

At the end of the day, the point of safety objectives and targets is to make your workplace safer, right? So, start by identifying potential areas for improvement. Maybe these are things that you didn’t quite get around to doing last year or stuff your staff have been complaining about for a while. Let’s call these goals. Maybe it’s something like ‘Ensure all staff are trained and briefed about our Safety Management System’. A few obvious ones may come to mind, but consider consulting your workers to identify goals that are most relevant and will have impact.

 

Once these have been identified be sure to prioritise the goals. We can’t achieve everything at once, especially when time and resources are limited – so select the goals that will have the greatest impact. Prioritisation will help keep everyone focused on what is most important.

 

Now, establish some specific targets to achieve within each of the broader goals. This is where it gets a little more specific. So, for our example above, a target could be ‘Ensure we meet at least 80% attendance for quarterly OHS training in our workplace for the year 2017.’

 

The most important part of this exercise it to ensure that the targets you set are clear and measurable. While it is good to be ambitious at times, there’s no point setting targets that you cannot possibly achieve. So yes, make them challenging, but also make them achievable.

 

Now, it’s time to identify the activities that you will undertake in order to achieve these targets, and assign those activities to your workers. Again, taking our example, an activity could be ‘Design and facilitate quarterly OHS training sessions for staff’ and this could be assigned to ‘Jenny.’

 

Often clients tell us that they have targets and have identified activities; however, they struggle to implement. This is very common – so don’t worry, you are not the only ones! Here are a few of the key reasons for this so you can watch out for them:

  • OHS activities are not clearly assigned to workers.
  • Workers are not given adequate resources, information or timeframes to complete their assigned activities.
  • Workers are expected to complete safety activities in addition to their regular job. TIP; make safety activities part of a position description and NOT an addition.
  • Workplaces fail to monitor the progress of each activity on a regular basis.

 

So, make sure you set up regular progress reviews throughout the year to ensure you are on track to meet your targets. These reviews can also be used to re-align your targets to ensure that remain relevant! Meet with your workers to ensure they have everything that they need to complete the activity on time. If they don’t, get it for them! And don’t forget to assess the performance of each activity against the boarder goals and targets set. Make sure your health and safety efforts continue to align with what you determined was most important ing the beginning.

 

Right, that’s it in a nutshell. And while all of this can all be easily managed in our Safety Champion OHS Software, it is certainly possible to follow these pointers and track it all manually too. If you are doing it this way, why not use some of our OHS Tool Box Talks to start conversations with your workers around what the most important areas for improvement in your OHS Safety Management System are. Good luck!