October is the National Safe Work Month. It is a month dedicated to raising awareness and committing to building safe and healthy workplaces for all Australians. This initiative by Safe Work Australia is something we at Nara Training & Assessing wholeheartedly support. As a training provider, we are committed to ensuring our students and employees work in safe conditions and support Safe Work Australia’s mission to raise awareness about Workplace Health & Safety (WHS) in the Australian working community.
Injuries, diseases and deaths that stem from the workplace have significant costs on the Australian economy. These costs include both directs costs and indirect costs. Things like workers’ compensation claims paid out by employers, payments given injured employees, lost productivity, loss of current and future earnings, lost potential output and the cost of providing social welfare programs for injured and incapacitated workers. Between 2012 and 2013, the Australian economy incurred an estimated cost of $61.8 billion as a result of workplace injuries and diseases – that’s 4.1% of the GDP!
The National Safe Work Month calls for workers and employers all over Australia to work together to make workplaces safe and healthy environments. This year’s theme “Be a Safety Champion” encourages everyone in the workplace, both employers and employees, to be a champion for workplace health and safety regardless of your occupation or industry. We all have a duty of care and responsibility to build a safe and healthy workplace:
- Employer – Every business needs to ensure that the health and safety of its workers and others are not put at risk
- Officers – Those in a position of power to make significant decisions at work must ensure that the business complies with their duties.
- Workers – Workplace health and safety does not fall solely on the shoulders of employers. All workers have a duty to take reasonable care for their own safety as well as ensure that their actions do not negatively affect the health and safety of others.
Let’s have a look at other ways we can put safety on top of the priority list:
Good Work Design
It is important to consider health and safety issues early on when designing work as it will help businesses to eliminate hazards and manage risks. Effective design of good work considers the work, work systems, the physical working environment and the workers. All of these elements need to be taken into account to help improve performance, job satisfaction and productivity of employees.
The Hierarchy of Control Measures
According to WHS, the hierarchy of control measures help businesses and workers to eliminate or minimize risks to health and safety. The methods of controlling risks are ranked from the highest level of protection and reliability to the lowest level of protection and reliability. The hierarchy of control is as follows:
- Elimination – Eliminate the hazard and associated risk
- Substitution – Replace the hazard
- Engineering Controls – Isolate people from the hazard
- Administrative Controls – Change the way people work
- Personal Protective Equipment – Use PPE
Mental Health in the Workplace
In addition to advocating safe work practices, the National Safe Work Month also raises awareness on mental health issues. Did you know that 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental health issue at some point in their life? Common mental health issues such as depression and anxiety can impact on work performance. Therefore, it is important for businesses to work out how they address and manage mental health issues in the workplace.
Benefits of Managing Mental Health in the Workplace for Your Business
- Reduce staff absenteeism and working days lost each year
- Increase productivity in your workplace
- Create a mentally safe and healthy work place
- Abide by work health and safety laws, which require employers to take responsible steps to make their workplaces mentally safe and healthy
You need to provide a physically and mentally safe workplace and prevent any kind of discrimination from happening against employees. There are a number of ways you can promote mental health wellbeing in your workplace such as encouraging employees to seek help when needed, reducing the stigma associated with mental illness and creating a sense of community and belonging within the workplace.
Let’s all strive to work together to ensure every workplace in Australia regardless of its size or industry is a safe place for all workers.
At Nara Training and Assessing, safety is paramount and that’s why all our training courses are focused on how to perform work safely and efficiently. To learn more about Nara Training and Assessing and our commitment to safety in the workplace, please click here or give us a call on 9722 4260.