Safety for small business
In Australia, all businesses, regardless of size, have the primary duty of care to ensure a healthy and safe workplace. Business owners or decision makers within the business must exercise due diligence and make sure that they comply with workplace health and safety obligations.
The biggest mistake small business makes with WHS is that there isn’t a clear safe system of work in place (called a Safety Management System). Often to save costs, small business decision makers will grab random policies, procedures and checklists from free sources to manage their safety. This practice creates a disjointed, dysfunctional and unlawful foundation for safe work where nothing talks to each other and large gaps are present because often these documents are from poor sources. Having disjointed or substandard safety ends up costing the business in the long run through poor safety culture, increased injuries, rework of poorly drafted documents, and fines from the Regulator.
The worst outcome for a small business owner is potential jail time, which is possible under industrial manslaughter laws.
The implementation of a quality Work Health and Safety Management System into your small business should be viewed as a necessary investment, rather than a cost. Good safety practices not only improve your business’s reputation as a safe operator and workplace, but there are other benefits such as a better brand to attract quality employees, improved safety culture and retention, reduced worker’s compensation claims and premiums, and increased ability to win work.
What is a Safety Management System?
A Safety Management System is the fundamental basis to creating a safe system of work. They should be a core part of the business’ operations and calibrate various elements in the workplace that need attention to ensure your company provides a safe working environment.
It is important that your safety management system fits your workplace – the size of your business, the type of work that you do and the workers that are working for you.
The elements of a safety management system include:
- management commitment and safety policy;
- training and supervision;
- risk management;
- incident and injury management; and
- monitoring and auditing.
Remember, it is not enough to simply adopt a safety management system’s policies. You must also actively implement that system in your workplace, in its core operations. To do this, you must ensure that:
- workers comply with procedures and instructions;
- workers are appropriately trained; and
- workers are subject to ongoing supervision.
Read more on what Comcare says about Safety Management Systems here.
Benefits of a system of safety for small business.
Safety management systems help businesses to continually improve their safety performance and compliance to meet health and safety legislation and standards. In doing so, businesses establish safer working environments that protect people at work by eliminating, or better managing, health and safety hazards.
There are a number of benefits to having an effective safety management system. The benefits include:
- complying with Australian legislative requirements and standards;
- creating a safer work environment;
- lower absenteeism rates, such as sick days;
- fewer business disruptions, by keeping your production going;
- more motivated and productive workers, because they feel safe and valued;
- improved bottom line by lowering your compensation costs;
- demonstrating the business is meeting legal requirements; and
- a more successful business by improving your reputation.
Business owners have a vital role to play when it comes to leading safety. When workers know their employer places high importance on workplace health and safety, they are more likely to be motivated to follow safety procedures and raise safety issues.
Access to all the essential WHS template documents including policies, procedures, checklists and forms.
- A guide which explains the purpose of each document so you better understand your safety system.
- We prepare your risk register, legal register and audit register only, and you complete the remaining documents.
- You have access to 3 months of telephone support in relation to using and maintaining your safety management system.
- Access to all the essential WHS template documents including policies, procedures, checklists and forms.
- We prepare the majority of the system for you, including policies, procedures, and registers and present it to you ready to go.
- You have access to 6 months of telephone support in relation to using and maintaining your safety management system.
- Access to all the essential WHS template documents including policies, procedures, checklists and forms PLUS additional materials which make a more comprehensive safety system.
- We prepare the full system for you, including policies, procedures, and registers, PLUS Safe Work Procedures, SWMS and more.
- You have access to 12 months of telephone support in relation to using and maintaining your safety management system.
Safety Gap Analysis
Many small businesses find that having a Safety Gap Analysis done is a great way to assess how they are going in the safety department. Our non-intrusive review of your site and general safety practices will enable you to clearly define the pathway forward with safety.
Contact us to arrange a free 30-minute Introductory Call with our small business safety team.
Call our Gold Coast Safety Consultants – 07 5655 4048. Servicing the Gold Coast, Tweed Heads and Northern NSW.