Alarming worker compensation statistics have recently shown that the small to medium business segment is responsible for 40 percent of all workers compensation claims in Victoria. WorkSafe Victoria categorises the medium segment in Victoria as those businesses with $1 to $20m remuneration. If you fall in this category, it’s time to review your OHS practices to ensure they are up to date and properly implemented.
WorkSafe discovered that safety is often undelegated or “juggled” on an ad hoc basis in medium-sized businesses.
WorkSafe discovered that in many medium businesses, safety is not:
All three factors contribute to poor OHS and Return to Work outcomes. To address these issues, WorkSafe has implemented the OHS Essentials Program.
The strategy involves a three-pronged approach to:
WorkSafe have found that “jugglers” – those responsible for OHS – lack confidence, skills and capability, are expected to have all the answers, and are often presented with an overwhelming amount of complex information. The aim is to provide them with support that is easy to access and tailored to their needs.
WorkSafe encourages all businesses to integrate safety into their business management system, practice prevention rather than reaction, and show commitment by owners/directors to the process. Many people, however, feel that current models of safety management systems are far too complex, resulting in WorkSafe developing the ‘Seven Pillars of Safety’ – a simplified approach to safety in the workplace.
The Seven Pillars of Safety include:
Establishing and communicating leadership roles to ensure the organisation has the structure to proactively manage health and safety.
Ensuring safety is a part of company processes with set budgets, objectives, targets and KPIs.
Implementing a process that records OHS incidents/events with clear visibility at director level.
Providing training to ensure managers, supervisors and workers understand impacts of poor performance and fulfil their roles and responsibilities.
Implementing a consultation process with staff on health and safety and return to work improvements.
Developing and implementing a system for identifying and managing hazards.
Implementing return to work programs and activities.
The new approach is designed to support the jugglers, confirming their role as the ringmasters, not the experts, and as facilitators, not doers of everything. Using the seven pillars as a guideline, businesses now have a much simpler view and understanding of their roles and responsibilities.