tips

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.

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!

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

 

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.

 

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 GO FREE plan.

 

  • 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!

 

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

 

Five benefits of going paperless with your health and safety practices!

  1. Access your files anywhere, anytime

You wouldn’t be the first business in the world to struggle with keeping your OHS or WHS files in any order, let alone perfect order. Taming your documents is a hassle…even for us health and safety professionals in our own workplace! However, implementing a cloud-based software system has helped us solve that. Not only can you see and download the documents, registers or records you need, when you need it – but all of your files, even if you are working across multiple workplace locations will be in one place, yep, up there in the sky. Shifting to a paperless way of working definitively makes accessing data easy, making reporting and decisions based on your data and trends so much easier!

 

  1. Demonstrate your compliance

Our clients always talk about how good it is to be able to “prove” their compliance regarding health and safety legislation – simply and effectively. This is not only good for dealing with the health and safety inspector, but also to prospective clients and building confidence with staff members. Nowadays it is vital to be able to demonstrate your businesses professionalism and commitment to supporting the health and wellbeing of your people – software is a very effective and highly visible way to demonstrate this commitment!

 

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  1. Make things easier for your people

You’ve probably seen and read all the talk these days about ‘employee engagement’ and ‘employee wellbeing’. There’s a clear trend that people really scrutinize businesses before they jump on board, to make sure it’s the kind of place they want to work. And what is the kind of place where people want to work? Well, an efficient workplace with easy, streamlined processes that actually make their day-to-day work easier! They expect businesses that embrace technology and know that the ones that do have built these efficiencies. So, help them out – toss away the paper and use OHS software!

 

 

  1. Look after your bottom line

It’s not just the cost of paper, ink and machine maintenance you are saving by going paperless. But think about the cost of time. If you have people running around trying to find lost paperwork, put messy files in order, chase up staff by phone or email to submit their reports… this is money, I repeat this is money! Read more about the cost to your business here. So, take some relief, know that if you put the right OHS software in place you will reduce administration and resourcing, as the OHS software will send automated emails to remind people to complete health and safety tasks and automatically save all that data in the appropriate registers ready for you to use, when you want it! Time is money. This software saves time. Do the math.

 

  1. Make your workplace safer!

Ok so this is the best benefit yet. Shifting to an easy-to-use, cloud-based software means that implementing your health and safety practices in the workplace will actually happen! And what this means, is that your people will become safer and healthier and happier for it. And, after all, that’s what health and safety is all about… looking after your people.

 

Word of warning! This being said, not all software systems are made the same – so keep your eyes open. Before you start to look, clearly define what you need. Don’t be caught out by the cheeky salesperson and/or cheapest product. If you go don’t that path, you may be kissing efficiency and simplicity goodbye.

A lack of sleep – is it making your business drowsy?

The effect of a 24/7 society is a worry when it comes to sleep duration and quality, or the trend to a lack of! The 2016 Sleep Health Survey of Australian Adults highlighted that sleep problems are becoming more common. Sure, the report is one from 2016, but our take on that is that it simply means that you have had more time to do something!

 

Unsurprisingly, a lack of sleep was found to impact worker performance, with 29% of adults in the study reporting they have made errors at work due to sleepiness or sleep problems.

 

With 29% of persons reporting that they drive whilst drowsy, it is no surprise to workplaces that 1 in 5 people reported that they have nodded off when driving, whilst 1 in 4 of these people reporting to have had an accident in the past 12 months due to fatigue!

 

Don’t think for a second that no drivers, no issues! Fatigue was found to influence absenteeism figures, with 17% reporting to have missed work due to feeling sleepy. That will sure impact your bottom line!

 

These stats are alarming for any business when it comes to ensuring not only a productive workforce, but one that can go home safely at the end of each day.

So, what can be done? Given dedicated siesta times are probably not practical, here are some other considerations for you:

  1. Have managers and supervisors regularly check-in with their teams to ensure they are on track to deliver. If they are struggling, this may allow you to make adjustments to resources.
  2. Establish procedures where emails sent before 8 am and after 6 pm are discouraged. If there are workers working outside of these times, encourage them to delay the delivery of work emails until the next day – if you wouldn’t phone to tell the news, then you shouldn’t email!
  3. Encourage your leaders to leave loudly and on time. Let you workforce know this is ok.
  4. Be flexible and aware that family situations and/or travel (i.e. changes to public transport); both of these can result in early starts and/or late finishes. In fact, we previously wrote a blog about working dads, and methods that you can use to support their return to the workplace.
  5. As always, you may consider undertaking a toolbox talk and/or training (as part of a wellbeing campaign) on sleep. Provide your workers to understand the physiological importance.
  6. Consideration sleep disorder screening for higher risk work workers such as those in transport, shift work and heavy machinery operators…

 

This is by no means everything. We would love to hear any other tips/tricks/programs you have used.

 

Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite!

Top tips for getting your people behind health and safety…

Our clients often tell us that in the past they have paid quite big money to have fancy OHS policies and practices created for their business. But they’ve also told us that after they’ve forked out the cash, absolutely nothing has changed on the health and safety front. Frustratingly they tell us, their people still don’t understand what they need to do and when, and that there are hazards everywhere you look and things that they feel are preventable continue to go wrong.

 

So, what’s happening here? Well the truth is that those OHS policies and practices don’t implement themselves.

 

You may have the OHS paperwork in place, but it doesn’t make the people in your workplace any safer if no one is implementing it all.

So, here are our top tips to get your people on board with health and safety;

 

  1. Put health and safety on the agenda!

It can be as simple as that – add health and safety line items to your next all staff or team meeting to keep everyone aware of what you are doing to make your workplace safer. Don’t create a separate meeting, stack it on to something existing so your workers don’t feel they have another meeting to attend. Ask people for their input (and then listen) – what needs to be addressed, does everyone know who the fire warden is, etc.

 

  1. Make health and safety responsibilities part of your employees position description

When you are writing your position descriptions, or performance reviewing staff – try adding relevant health and safety line items to their role. Nothing complicated – it will however ensure that your people know they have a role to play in safety is key to getting it all to work.

 

  1. Create OHS / WHS-specific KPIs

We love this one! If you really want your health and safety standards to sing, integrate it into your business strategy. Apply health and safety specific KPIs to your team or staff member responsibilities. Nothing gets people to do something, like having clear targets that must be achieved by a specific deadline! We would love to workshop KPI ideas with you!

 

  1. Implement a safety software system

Some may view this as cheeky, but it is totally true! If you implement an easy-to-use OHS software system that comes equipped with auto reminders, document control, easy reporting and a simple dashboard, your staff will thank you for it. It makes it easier for them – and therefore they are much more likely to do it! Safety Champion for example is a small investment, say less than a coffee a day, for a lotta gain.

 

 

So, that’s it from us – give one or more of these things a shot. Consider Tip 4 over that coffee tomorrow! They really will start to do wonders and help you to make your people safer, healthier and happier at work!