Keeping On Top Of Your Occupational Health & Safety Obligations
Australian business owners often find themselves so busy that they neglect other important areas of their business. And despite the valiant efforts of most businesses trying to do the right thing, they are getting caught out by not keeping on top of their occupational health and safety requirements. In a report provided by Safework Australia, there were 129 reported deaths in the workplace in 2014. 101 have been recorded so far in 2015. Safework Australia also provided another report on the amount of non-fatal worker compensation claims by key employment and demographic statistics in 2012 to 2013.
In the report, there were 117,815 serious claims, which means that businesses are exposed to 1 in 100 employees making a serious workers compensation claim to their business. An amazing 60% of serious claims are a result of falls, trips and slips from a person and resulted in muscular or skeletal injuries.
Each year, several Australian businesses get caught out by their employees or by the public. Had the business committed to resolving any potential issues, it would have saved them financial costs and reduced the opportunity loss to their business.
What are some of the dedicated actions that businesses need to take?
Businesses need to commit to strong occupational health and safety practices to prevent the threat of workers compensation claims against their business. The Australian government has said on their website that “creating a safe environment is critical to the success of your business and is one of the best ways to retain staff and maximize productivity.” Businesses need to monitor the different areas of their business, in order to ensure there aren’t any health or safety problems that may open up the business to the threat of compensation risks, both with workers and with the public. It is necessary for businesses to provide the following:
- A safe premises.
- Safe machinery and materials.
- Safe systems of work.
- Information, instruction, training and supervision.
- A suitable working environment and facilities.
More information on the Workplace Health and Safety ‘Codes of practice’ can be found here. It is important that businesses commit to these duties to prevent any fines or legal prosecution.
As mentioned earlier, one of the major contributors to workers compensation claims is from accidents caused by slips in the workplace. One of the common issues that occur is from drips and leaks from mechanical equipment. Mechanical plumbing is a necessary maintenance procedure that businesses should commit to regularly to monitor any potential workplace health and safety threats. In addition, other plumbing areas such as fixing leaks in roofs and undergoing audits to ensure that the water systems aren’t posing any health risks is critical to the long term sustainability for your business.
Is there a way businesses can manage their workers compensation costs?
While it may seem like a myth, it is possible for businesses to maintain their workers compensation cost for both the small and large corporate Australian businesses. The businesses that fail to manage it, will find that their workers compensation costs spiral into the thousands, costing the business thousands of dollars in premiums. Business should enforce strict compliance procedures among management and staff, in order to prevent any hazards or risks that could potentially lead to injury and people’s workers compensation. Management can also initiate training methods and facilities to empower their staff to implement better working practices. Many business owners often dismiss implementing these practices due to the fees and costs associated with these new procedures. However, these costs are miniscule compared to the long term costs should occupational health and safety arise as a serious issue in your business.
The more businesses commit to their focus on different health and safety aspects, the stronger the business will be in their quest to keep on top of occupational health and safety practices. Don’t have your business fall victim to the legal consequences due to negligence and failure to commit to the larger cause.
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